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100 staff hit by Bullitt firings – “the founders let us down”.

Staff Reporter
January 29, 2024

Rugged handset specialist Bullitt Group has gone into administration with the loss of 100 jobs after a critical planned restructuring failed.

Mobile News understands 100 staff were let go on Friday after the plan to move them across to a new company failed, and that none of them had been paid for two months.

The collapse also leaves users without warrantee protection on their devices.

The Telegraph reported earlier this month that Bullitt’s satellite connectivity business and 100 employees would be transferred to a new company owned by its creditors. 

A source close to the company told Mobile News that it was not surprising that Bullitt had called in administrators 

They haven’t brought out any new products to market except satellite messaging. Their staple line hasn’t changed in years. There has been no investment in any new devices apart from the CAT s75. I suspect the owners no longer wanted to be involved in that business, They now want to concentrate on satellite text messaging but where is the money in that? Is it just for people who climb mountains?”

“The whole satellite message thing is dead in the water”

Said one mid-level ex-employee: “The whole company was very down. We weren’t making new products,. Nobody liked the satellite service. In Europe where nobody an emergency satellite text message service. In the USA it was unreliable and only worked in some states. There is now also Starlink while T-Mobile is is testing 5G from space. BTis doing the same . The whole satellite message thing is dead in the water. I was there for a long time. We had good times. Then the founders (Richard Wharton, Colin Batt Dave Floyd came back in and it went downhill 2.5 years ago. the founders let us down. None of our retail and distribution partners have even been not even officially fold”.

Since 2009 Bullitt Group has specialised in designing and manufacturing rugged smartphones and i known for producing rugged smartphones under various brand partnerships, such as CAT,  Land Rover, and Motorola. 

A year ago the company launched the world’s first Android smartphone capable of two-way satellite messaging at the same time that Apple announced the same capability for the iPhone 14. Bullitt Satellite Connect integrated satellite and network infrastructure partners to provide satellite text messaging via  Bullitt Satellite Messenger.. It is claimed by Bulitt the only direct-to-satellite service using the 3GPP standards

Bullitt Satellite Messenger was launched a paid-for service, monetised through a variety of flexible monthly and annual plans and packages, tailored to the needs of occasional-through-to-heavy users of the service.

 The Cat S75, Motorola defy 2, and Motorola accessed existing geostationary satellites over well-established infrastructure so customers could send and receive messages over satellite, share their location, and raise SOS assistance requests wherever they had a clear view of the sky. The service used the Cat and Motorola device hardware and proprietary software components built by Bullitt and its service partners, to deliver the service.

Bullitt Satellite Messenger was launched a paid-for service, monetised through a variety of flexible monthly and annual plans and packages

Last year Iridium  and Qualcomm’s plan of covering the world’s surface with an emergency texting service accessible through Snapdragon satellite-chip Android smartphones fell apart. Iridium blamed smartphone makers for not including the technology in their devices, leading Qualcomm to end the agreement.

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