Satellite Companies Eye Mobile Device Market; Iridium’s Matt Desch Quoted

Engineers say satellite companies seeking to link smartphones and other mobile devices on the ground could turn that target into a reality with cheaper rockets and advances in satellite technology but would need to invest billions of dollars to achieve that goal, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

Iridium Communications CEO Matt Desch said equipping satellite-linked smartphones with high-speed internet connectivity is “not a service that the public will see for at least a few years.”

Desch, a 2022 Wash100 awardee, said satellite-based text messaging service on a mobile device would be a more feasible goal.

According to the report, satellite companies looking to deploy their networks should also consider compliance with local and international regulations, the rising volume of orbital debris, financial challenges and pricing issues.

Desch noted that having partners that deliver the mobile service to customers spares the company from addressing the pricing issue.

“What are you going to charge them for it if you’re spending $10 billion to provide it?” he said. “There are a lot of people thinking about how to best price this.”

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