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September 25, 2008

MSV, ICO Global and Qualcomm sign technology agreement

Mobile Satellite Ventures, a subsidiary of US-based SkyTerra Communications, ICO Global Communications and Qualcomm have signed an agreement to enable integration of satellite communications into mass market cellular handsets and devices.

By CBR Staff Writer

Under the agreement, Qualcomm will integrate satellite and cellular communication technology in select multi-mode mobile baseband chips. As a result, satellite connectivity will be enabled in mass-market wireless handsets and devices. It is claimed that the same mobile chipsets used in handsets and other devices will enable handset vendors to produce satellite-capable devices at comparable scale and cost.

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 Mobile Satellite Ventures (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.

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.

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Qualcomm America’s and India, said: Qualcomm’s satellite technology extends 3G to yet another dimension of wireless communications. 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.

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