Chip-maker Qualcomm has decided to end its partnership with satellite provider Iridium to offer the Snapdragon Satellite feature for Android devices. This feature is similar to what Apple provides on its latest iPhones. The collaboration between Qualcomm and Iridium, announced in January of this year, aimed to enable satellite messaging and emergency services on smartphones powered by Snapdragon Mobile Platforms using Iridium’s network.
While the technology was successfully developed and demonstrated, smartphone manufacturers have not incorporated it into their devices. As a result, Qualcomm has chosen to terminate the agreements with Iridium, effective from December 3, 2023.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch expressed disappointment over the partnership not yielding immediate results. However, he believes the industry is moving towards increased satellite connectivity in consumer devices. Desch noted that mobile network operators (MNOs) and device manufacturers, led by Apple, still plan to provide customers with expanded coverage and new satellite-based features. Desch sees Iridium as well-suited to be a key player in this emerging market due to its global coverage and regulatory certainty.
With the termination of the agreements, Iridium will have the freedom to directly engage with smartphone OEMs, other chipmakers, and smartphone operating system developers that the company had previously collaborated with. Additionally, Iridium will pursue new relationships with smart device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), chipmakers, and developers for its existing and future service plans.
It is important to note that the termination of these agreements will not impact Iridium’s financial guidance for the full year 2023.