Combined satellite-cellular communications will become a reality for consumers, enterprise, government and public safety users with an agreement announced today by and among Mobile Satellite Ventures LP (MSV), a subsidiary of SkyTerra Communications, Inc. (OTCBB: SKYT), ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited (ICO) (NASDAQ: ICOG), and Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM). This agreement will enable devices to have ubiquitous mobile communications coverage from anywhere in North America, including areas where traditional cellular service is currently unavailable or unreliable.
Under the agreement, Qualcomm will integrate satellite and cellular communication technology in select multi-mode mobile baseband chips. As a result, for the first time ever, satellite connectivity will be enabled in mass-market wireless handsets and devices. The same mobile chipsets forming the heart of handsets and other devices will enable handset vendors to produce satellite-capable devices at comparable scale and cost.
“This agreement marks a truly historic milestone in the evolution of the wireless industry,” remarked Alex Good, chairman, CEO and president of SkyTerra. “For the first time, satellite communications can achieve economies of scale traditionally enjoyed in the cellular marketplace today. Combined with our powerful next-generation satellites, Qualcomm's technology will enable mobile communications between terrestrial and satellite network layers using ordinary mobile devices.”
> “One of the cornerstone features of ICO mim™ (mobile interactive media), and of all future ICO MSS ATC products, is satellite interactivity, and this agreement enables two-way satellite services for a wide variety of mainstream wireless devices,” noted Tim Bryan, ICO's chief executive officer. “Through our current contract with Qualcomm on satellite technology we have seen the depth of experience that they bring to this project. In addition, we look forward to working with our colleagues at MSV as we collaboratively develop this new technology.”
“Qualcomm's satellite technology extends 3G to yet another dimension of wireless communications,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Qualcomm America's and India. “Our work with MSV, ICO and other market innovators will enable innovative hybrid services and help pave the way for new uses of the mobile satellite bands.”
Under the agreement, Qualcomm will develop a satellite protocol and include it in the firmware of select upcoming Qualcomm multi-mode baseband chips. Qualcomm will also support the L- and S-Band frequencies, in which MSV and ICO operate, in select RF processors.
The new chips are expected to be available beginning in 2010. Qualcomm will sell and support its hybrid mobile satellite services (MSS)/terrestrial chipsets to mobile device vendors in the same manner it does today. This will enable terminal OEMs to provide a full range of handhelds and mobile computing devices capable of terrestrial connectivity with 3GPP and 3GPP2 technologies across the L- and S-Bands, as well as a wide range of existing mobile terrestrial bands.
“The integrated satellite-terrestrial market presents an exciting opportunity with more than 100 MHz of spectrum potentially addressable on a global basis,” added Good. “We anticipate that additional operators will take advantage of satellite data optimized technology as the systems evolve.”
In connection with entering into the agreement, subject to certain rights of termination, MSV and ICO have entered into a mutual non-assertion agreement with respect to relevant aspects of their respective patent portfolios as well as certain other related agreements to the Qualcomm development effort.
About SkyTerra and Mobile Satellite Ventures (www.msvlp.com)
MSV delivers mobile wireless voice and data services primarily for public safety, security, fleet management and asset tracking in the U.S. and Canada. The company's next-generation hybrid satellite-terrestrial communications network is expected to provide seamless, transparent and ubiquitous wireless coverage of the United States and Canada to conventional handsets. When completed, the network will support communications in a variety of market segments including public safety, homeland security, aviation, transportation and entertainment, by providing a platform for interoperable, user-friendly and feature-rich voice and high-speed data services. Mobile Satellite Ventures is a joint venture between Mobile Satellite Ventures LP and Mobile Satellite Ventures (Canada) Inc. MSVLP is owned and controlled by SkyTerra Communications, Inc. (OTCBB: SKYT).
ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited is a satellite communications company developing an advanced next-generation hybrid media system, combining both satellite and terrestrial communications capabilities. ICO G1 is capable of supporting wireless voice, data, and/or Internet services throughout the United States on mobile and portable devices. ICO is deploying a mobile interactive media service known as ICO mim™. ICO mim will combine ICO's unique interactive satellite capability with nationwide coverage to deliver a new level of navigation, enhanced roadside assistance and the ultimate mobile video experience, including 10-15 live channels of premium television content. ICO is based in Reston, Virginia. For more information, visit www.ico.com.
Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on CDMA and other advanced technologies. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Qualcomm is included in the S&P 100 Index, the S&P 500 Index and is a 2008 FORTUNE 500® company. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com.
SkyTerra and MSV Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, with respect to plans described in this news release. Such statements generally include words such as could, can, anticipate, believe, expect, seek, pursue, proposed, potential and similar words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties relating to the ability of SkyTerra and MSV to raise additional capital or consummate a strategic transaction or deploy the next generation system, as well as the ability of SkyTerra and MSV to execute their business plan. We assume no obligation to update or supplement such forward-looking statements.
ICO Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding ICO mim. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expected results. More information about risks is contained in ICO's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and its other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements in this press release speak as of the date hereof, and ICO undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements for any reason.