Qualcomm set to bring satellite connection to mobile phones

Qualcomm has inked a deal with SkyTerra's Mobile Satellite Ventures and ICO Global Communications that will bring satellite connections to multi-mode cellular phones, the companies said in a joint announcement.

Satellite phones used to be expensive and strictly for the uber-rich. They came with extra-long antennas that enabled the caller to get a signal anywhere. With this deal, Qualcomm is saying that caricature has been relegated to the dustbin.

Qualcomm will put satellite and cellular phone technology into baseband chips embedded in multi-mode phones. This, the companies say, will both allow a wider consumer market to access satellite connectivity and enable handset makers to develop phones that are satellite-capable.

The new chips will support the L- and S-Band frequencies, in which MSV and ICO operate, and will be available beginning in 2010.

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