Tag Archive for: Iridium

Samsung has entered into a service provider agreement with Iridium to connect its satellites to the new upcoming smartphones.

The U.S.-based satellite operator said it is due to be paid royalties, development and network usage fees from the deal in a Dec. 30 regulatory filing that provided no financial details or timings.

“To protect each company’s investment in this newly developed technology, the overall arrangements include substantial recoupment payments from each company for commercializing a similar capability,” Iridium said.

The announcement comes after Iridium said in July that it had signed a development contract with a company to enable its satellite technology in smartphones. 

Iridium said both agreements are still contingent upon successfully developing the technology.

Samsung plans to use Iridium’s constellation to bring satellite connectivity to its range of Galaxy S23 range of smartphones this year, South Korean media publication ETNews reported Nov. 24.

Unlike the direct-to-smartphone service Apple launched Nov. 15 with Iridium’s rival Globalstar, ETNews said Samsung’s service would extend beyond basic SOS messaging to enable texts and low-resolution images to be sent outside terrestrial networks. 

While Iridium and South Korea-based Samsung have declined to comment on the ETNews report, Lee Seung-gwan, a senior executive at Samsung Electronics’ communications team, said a “smartphone-satellite connection is something we should pursue, obviously.”

The partnership would make sense for Iridium following Apple’s Globalstar tie-up, according to William Blair analyst Louie DiPalma, who expects the Galaxy S23 line-up to be released in February.

Globalstar’s willingness to allocate 85% of its satellite network to Apple helped seal its deal with the company behind one of the world’s most successful smartphones. 

But that level of commitment was not feasible for Iridium, DiPalma said in a note to investors Nov. 25, because thousands of blue chip customers including the U.S. Department of Defense currently rely on its network.

Even still, Iridium’s $3 billion 66-strong constellation is “considered significantly more advanced” than Globalstar’s network of 24 satellites, he said.

“In our view, the Iridium smartphone functionality will be more expansive than the Apple-GlobalStar iPhone14 partnership,” he added.

During Iridium’s latest earnings call Oct. 20, CEO Matt Desch hinted that “you can do a lot more than just push an emergency button” with a smartphone connected to a satellite. 

Apple has kept its future direct-to-smartphone plans close to its chest as it invests $450 million to upgrade Globalstar’s network.

Meanwhile, other established and startup satellite companies are preparing to offer more than just basic emergency messaging when they launch their direct-to-smartphone services in the coming years.

Texas-based AST SpaceMobile is preparing to start deploying operational satellites from late 2023 to bring 5G connectivity directly to smartphones.

Samsung Next, Samsung’s investment arm, was an early investor in AST SpaceMobile.

DiPalma expects an Iridium partnership with Samsung would contribute $20 million in revenues in its first year, although “that estimate may be conservative.”

Iridium Messaging Transport (IMT) is designed to simplify the development of satellite IoT services.

Iridium Communications Inc. recently announced the service introduction of IMTSM, a two-way cloud-native networked data service optimized for use over Iridium Certus® and programmed to make it easier to add satellite connections to existing or new IoT solutions.

IMT provides an IP data transport service unique to the Iridium® network, designed for small-to-moderate-sized messages supporting satellite IoT applications. Integrated with CloudConnect and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the new service can reduce development costs and speed time to market for new Iridium Connected® IoT devices. IMT has been highly anticipated by Iridium’s partner ecosystem and is currently available for the Iridium Certus 100 service with introduction on Iridium Certus 200, 350 and 700 planned for the first quarter of 2023.

As a connectionless messaging service for Iridium CertusTM modules, IMT aligns with current established server-device message constructs using hubs, Pub/Sub or queues, depending on application platforms. The IMT service can be used by a customer application that is ‘store and forward’ or has small amounts of data traffic that does not require a persistent connection between servers, utilizing an Iridium Certus terminal. Whether it’s machine-to-machine (M2M), e-mails, weather updates, transactions, or group communications, IMT enhances two-way messaging to and from anywhere in the world.

IMT is utilized with the Iridium CloudConnect model of server-side message processing, regardless of the underlying over-the-air and ground systems technologies and protocols. The Iridium CloudConnect service combines Iridium IoT capabilities with AWS cloud services extending customers’ IoT reach to the more than 85 percent of the earth that lacks terrestrial coverage. IMT utilizes industry-standard protocols and technology for managing and delivering messages in the cloud, including MQTT, HTTPS and WebSocket (WSS). This makes IMT an easier, faster, and less expensive protocol to develop with, supporting users with countless advantages to design applications that are scalable and easier to distribute to other platforms.

Among the first products built with IMT available are the RockREMOTE by Ground Control and STREAM+ by MetOcean Telematics. The RockREMOTE offers a reliable and flexible solution for industrial IoT applications including oil and gas, mining, utilities and renewables, and transport & cargo. It has a built-in MQTT application that allows developers to submit and receive data payloads across the MQTT protocol. Users can send and receive messages, pictures, to and from anywhere in the world utilizing this IMT implementation over the Iridium Certus 100 service.

STREAM+ allows users to send and receive files and messages securely. Designed for field applications with size, weight, and power constraints, STREAM+ offers a range of industry standard protocols, features, and inputs simplifying integration and installation for end users and reducing development costs and overall time to market.

Unique in the satellite industry, Iridium Certus is the only broadband service that provides reliable, weather-resilient connectivity for on-the-move internet, high-quality voice, email, live-action video and IoT data transfer. Through its constellation of crosslinked satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), Iridium is the only communications company that offers truly global coverage and is ideally suited for IoT applications.