Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
Qualcomm Ends Satellite-to-Phone Partnership with Iridium

Qualcomm has terminated its partnership with satellite company Iridium less than a year after it was announced. Iridium revealed in a statement that the partnership would end on 3 December, with Qualcomm being the one to end the agreement. As a result, Iridium will now have the freedom to engage directly with other chipmakers, smartphone OS developers, and device manufacturers.

The collaboration between Qualcomm and Iridium aimed to integrate satellite messaging and emergency service functionality into Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platforms. While the technology was successfully developed and demonstrated, Qualcomm terminated the contract because smartphone manufacturers have not included the technology in their devices.

Despite this setback, Iridium’s CEO, Matt Desch, remains optimistic about the future of direct-to-device satellite connectivity. He believes that industry direction is clear towards increased satellite connectivity in consumer devices, particularly led by Apple. Mobile network operators and device manufacturers still plan to provide expanded coverage and new satellite-based features to their customers.

Iridium believes that its global coverage and regulatory certainty make it well-suited to be a key player in the emerging market of satellite connectivity. The company emphasizes that user experience will be crucial to the success of these initiatives, and Iridium has proven its ability to provide reliable global capabilities to mobile users.

With the end of the Qualcomm partnership, Iridium now has the opportunity to explore other collaborations and partnerships in the industry.