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CALL THE WHOLE GANG FROM THE LAKE

LIFE CAN BE ROUGH SOMETIMES. YOU'RE CRUISING THE Pacific Ocean, and you need to make a conference call to a few people back at the office. However, the satellite telephone on your sailboat only allows you to call one person at a time.

Now, Aloha Conferencing Inc., a Honolulu-based unit of London's Cable & Wireless PLC, has a solution. On June 11, the company started offering the capability to make conference calls via satellite so you can be anyplace--on a boat in the Pacific or in the middle of the Sahara--and call several people at once. Aloha claims that there's a strong market for the $11-a-minute service among businesses with executives who are scattered far and wide. ''There were a few times when people had to be pulled in from ships to participate in business meetings,'' says Gary Payne, Aloha Conferencing's business development director. ''That tells me there's demand.''

What's now a novelty, however, could quickly become commonplace. Two major satellite systems are scheduled to start operating next year--Globalstar, backed by Loral Space & Communications Ltd., and Motorola Inc.'s Iridium. Both are expected to offer similar conferencing services.

EDITED BY PETER ELSTROM


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Updated June 23, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.
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