There are clearly far too many consortia planning to build global satellite mobile telephone networks, and at last, two of them have blinked. Loral Space & Communications Ltd and Alcatel- Alsthom SA have reached agreement in principle to pool their resources in deploying their next-generation satellite systems for high-bandwidth services. The acceptance of reality involves some big compromises, because the two had been planning to launch their birds into dramatically different orbits and to use different frequencies. On the plus side, the New York and Paris companies know each other well, and both were planning to target the broadband communications market with services ranging from Internet access and videoconferencing to medical telecommunications and high-speed data transfer. Loral has now provisionally agreed to become a major partner in the $3.9bn SkyBridge system of 64 low-earth-orbit satellites proposed by Alcatel and Alcatel has agreed to buy into Loral’s proposed $2bn Cyberstar system of up to four high-altitude satellites. The idea would be that both would market their projects as part of a larger integrated system.