LOS ANGELES, CA, NEW YORK, NY, SAN DIEGO, CA -- June 21, 2000 -- In-Flight Network LLC, a joint venture of News Corporation and Rockwell Collins, today announced a long-term strategic development with Globalstar (NASDAQ: GSTRF) and a development agreement with Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) which will enable In Flight Network (IFN) to provide low-cost broadband Internet and e-mail services to existing commercial airline fleets by early next year. Two weeks ago, a prototype of the IFN system was flown and successfully operated over parts of North America, proving the functionality of the system.
Under the agreements, IFN, Globalstar and Qualcomm will participate jointly in the development of a system that will provide broadband Internet access as well as e-mail, paging and voice-over-IP applications directly to passengers aboard aircraft in flight. Broadband Internet data and entertainment will be transmitted directly to aircraft via geostationary satellites, with the return link carried over the worldwide Globalstar satellite network. In addition, the Globalstar satellite network will serve as an independent two-way channel for Internet access, e-mail, downloading of data and other applications.
With Qualcomm-developed enhancements to its Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, the Globalstar data link will initially operate at speeds in excess of 200 kbps. When user demand increases and ground terminal capacity can absorb the greater data load, this data rate can be increased to over 800 kbps -- faster than most DSL or cable modems.
"IFN's service will enable affiliate airlines to deploy high-speed, full Internet access and e-mail services quickly. The new service will eliminate the need to wait for the build-out of new satellite networks or to invest in expensive new antennae. IFN looks forward to working with leading web sites and portals in extending internet access to the frequent flyer community," said Jeffrey M. Wales, CEO of In Flight Network LLC and senior vice president, News Corporation.
IFN, Globalstar and Loral Space&Communications also intend to evaluate the use of additional Globalstar and Loral satellite-based products and services for incorporation into IFN prior to full-scale deployment in late 2001.
IFN plans to offer lab demonstrations of the new Internet and e-mail service to aviation and airline industry representatives beginning in mid-July. IFN will conduct comprehensive in-flight demonstrations of the new service for press, government and airline officials, and technology and entertainment industry leaders at a Southern California airport location in the Fall. Interested parties are asked to contact email@example.com to arrange for an invitation to the demonstrations and related events.
Tony Navarra, president of Globalstar, said, "This relationship with IFN is yet another example of the tremendous versatility of the Globalstar system and the range of applications possible with this service. CDMA technology makes this high bandwidth system practical, and Globalstar, as the only worldwide CDMA network in operation, is uniquely positioned to make this service available."
Jerry Beckwith, president of Qualcomm Wireless Systems, said, "We have always believed that one of Globalstar's greatest strengths was its use of Qualcomm's CDMA technology to handle data. Being able to take advantage of higher data rates will result in enormous benefits for industrial, corporate, and personal users - not only in the aviation market, but for remote ground applications as well. In providing high-speed Internet access, the passenger's experience will be similar to that of using a cable modem."
In-Flight Network LLC is a joint venture entity formed by News Corporation (NYSE:NWS, NWS.A), one of the world's leading media companies, and Rockwell Collins (NYSE:ROK), a world leader in aviation electronics. It was formed as the world's first global in-flight entertainment network to offer live coverage of news, sports and entertainment events, in addition to recorded audio/video programming and broadband Internet access and e-mail services.
IFN's global, satellite-based, broadband digital communications network will also support multiple video channels, with programming automatically tailored to the length of flight and specific destinations. IFN affiliate airlines will be able to provide their passengers with differentiated, airline-specific, co-branded programming options of business and entertainment channels in multiple languages. IFN's advertiser-supported business model enables global and national advertisers, as well as local and regional advertisers, to deliver full-motion broadcast video spots to aircraft in flight throughout the world. Web-based video spots and banner ads will also be delivered to PC users on targeted aircraft and airport premises.
Globalstar provides affordable satellite-based digital voice and data services to a broad range of subscribers and users. Globalstar meets the needs of mobile telephone users who live, work or travel in areas not covered by cellular systems, as well as residents of under-served markets who will use Globalstar's fixed-site phones to satisfy their needs for basic telephony. Led by founding partner Loral Space&Communications (NYSE:LOR), Globalstar is a partnership of the world's leading telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers, including co-founder Qualcomm Incorporated, Alenia, China Telecom (HK), DACOM, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, Elsacom (a Finmeccanica Company), Hyundai, TE.SA.M (a France Telecom/Alcatel company), Space Systems/Loral, and Vodafone AirTouch. For more information, visit Globalstar's web site at www.globalstar.com.
Qualcomm Incorporated (www.qualcomm.com) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on the Company's CDMA digital technology. The Company's business areas include integrated CDMA chipsets and system software; technology licensing; Eudora® email software for Windows® and Macintosh® computing platforms; satellite-based systems including portions of the Globalstar™ system and wireless fleet management systems, OmniTRACS® and OmniExpress™. Qualcomm owns patents which are essential to all of the CDMA wireless communications standards that have been adopted or proposed for adoption by standards-setting bodies worldwide. Qualcomm has licensed its essential CDMA patent portfolio to more than 75 telecommunications equipment manufacturers worldwide. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Qualcomm is included in theS&P500 Index and is a 2000 Fortune 500® company traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market® under the ticker symbol QCOM.
# # #
Qualcomm, OmniTRACS and Eudora are registered trademarks and OmniExpress is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Globalstar is a trademark of Loral Qualcomm Satellite Services, Incorporated. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.