At A Glance:
A nomadic tribe of reindeer herders in a remote region of Mongolia lacked access to medical care or the ability to contact emergency assistance.
Iridium Extreme® satellite phones enable reliable connectivity throughout the Mongolian mountains where the tribe lives.
The Iridium network and devices strengthen the Tsaatan culture by allowing the safe continuation of ancient traditions.
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The Tsaatan people — a tribe of reindeer herders in northern Mongolia — are one of the last few truly nomadic communities in their country. In the midst of an evolving world, the Tsaatan are committed to maintaining their customs and traditions, despite significant challenges.
One of the most pressing issues facing Tsaatan leaders was the lack of access to emergency services, particularly medical advice, as they traveled. An unreliable two-way radio was their only source of communication to medical professionals, and in 2013 a member of their tribe passed because they were unable to reach a doctor.
Zaya, the leader of the Tsaatan, noticed that many tourists in the remote region used Iridium satellite phones to reliably stay connected while traveling. She contacted a recent visitor to the tribe and inquired about obtaining an Iridium phone.
Ultimately, Zaya was able to acquire an Iridium Extreme — a rugged, easy-to-use handset designed with extreme durability. The phone granted the tribe access to Iridium’s network of global satellites, providing 24/7 connectivity anywhere on the planet, including the Tsaatan’s home in Mongolia’s Khövsgöl Province.
With the Iridium Extreme, the Tsaatan and their leaders have peace of mind that no matter the emergency, they can contact help regardless of place, time, or environmental conditions. Beyond emergency situations, the tribe can now also stay in touch with those who leave their group to attend university or to explore life outside of the area.
The phone has been very useful in our lives. Being able to call for help ASAP means more than anything. I can say some of our elder members feel much more calm and secure when we migrate to further grounds. We can continue our lives without worry and fear, all thanks to Iridium.”–Zaya,
Iridium technology enables the tribe to safely and securely continue their oldest traditions.