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TerreStar, Qualcomm collaborate on comms tech

Posted: 17 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:TerreStar Qualcomm deal? satellite integrated cellular? mobile devices?

TerreStar Networks Inc. has inked an agreement with Qualcomm Inc. to develop integrated satellite-cellular communications technologies for conventional-sized mobile devices designed for government, public safety, enterprise and consumer users.

Under the agreement, Qualcomm will integrate satellite and cellular communications technology by developing a satellite protocol and including it in the firmware of select upcoming Qualcomm multimode baseband chips. Qualcomm also will support the S-Band frequencieswhere TerreStar will operatein select RF processors. As a result, satellite connectivity can be enabled in conventional-sized, 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.

The agreement follows Qualcomm's previous agreements with other mobile satellite service (MSS) providers, including Mobile Satellite Ventures and ICO Global Communications.

'Innovate technologically'
"Collaborating with Qualcomm and other MSS companies allows us to continue to innovate technologically while maintaining our strong financial position into 2010," said Jeffrey Epstein, TerreStar president. "This agreement provides more tools for our wholesale partners, government and commercial sales initiatives, and opens up new markets for revenue generation."

Epstein added, "As we move forward towards our expected satellite launch in June 2009, we plan to leverage our technological advances, key partnering agreements and our stable liquidity to establish a first-to-market advantage."

The new chips are expected to be available beginning in 2010. Qualcomm will sell and support its integrated mobile satellite-terrestrial chipsets to mobile device vendors in the same manner it does today with terrestrial chipsets. This will enable terminal OEMs to provide a full range of handhelds and mobile computing devices capable of terrestrial connectivity with W-CDMA and CDMA2000 technologies across the S-Band, and a wide range of existing mobile terrestrial bands.

"This agreement furthers TerreStar's long-term objective of unlocking the value of MSS/ATC by bringing satellite-terrestrial enabled communications to the broader consumer market in an array of conventional wireless technologies," said Dennis Matheson, TerreStar's chief technology officer. "We believe that this collaboration can help integrated devices achieve the economies of scale currently seen in the wireless marketplace and, together with our current device initiatives, we believe that we will be able to create the most flexible platform and service offering in the market."

"Qualcomm is pleased to be working with TerreStar on development of this innovative satellite-terrestrial wireless technology," said Peggy Johnson, Qualcomm's executive VP for Americas and India. "The planned inclusion of satellite capabilities in future mass-market wireless devices is an exciting development for the telecommunications industry."

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