Chip company Qualcomm and communications technology provider Iridium have decided to end their partnership in providing satellite to phone services. Earlier this year, the companies collaborated to offer satellite-based messaging and emergency services.
During their partnership, they successfully developed and demonstrated a solution using Iridium’s satellite network and Snapdragon’s semiconductors. However, smartphone manufacturers have not included this technology in their products, leading Qualcomm to terminate the partnership.
Qualcomm stated that smartphone manufacturers prefer standards-based solutions for satellite-to-phone connectivity. The company expressed their intention to continue collaborating with Iridium on these standards-based solutions while discontinuing efforts on the proprietary solution introduced earlier.
This development occurs as major companies are exploring opportunities to connect unmodified phones directly to satellites. Several smartphone manufacturers, telecommunications carriers, and satellite firms, including Apple, T-Mobile, AT&T, SpaceX, and Iridium, have already collaborated on similar initiatives.
Iridium emphasized that it is open to working with other chipmakers, smartphone makers, and mobile operating system developers. They also mentioned their plans to seek new partnerships with chip manufacturers, developers, and OEMs of smart devices for their current and upcoming service plans.
The termination of the alliance is not expected to impact Iridium’s financial guidance for the full-year 2023, according to the company. Iridium CEO Matt Desch expressed his disappointment but remains optimistic about the company’s future direction and growth.