Satellite company Iridium hints at mysterious smartphone deal

Iridium, a satellite operator based in Virginia, announced that it “entered into a development agreement to enable Iridium’s technology in smartphones.”

However, the company did not disclose any details in its latest filing with the SEC, such as the companies it might be working with.

“The agreement is contingent upon the successful development of the technology, as well as negotiation and execution of a service provider agreement, which the company expects to finalize by the end of the year,” Iridium wrote in the SEC filing, which was issued in conjunction with the release of its second quarter results. Interestingly, the results press release makes no mention of smartphone development.

“The development agreement also provides for development fees, royalties and network usage fees to be paid to Iridium,” the company continued in the SEC filing. “To protect each company’s investment in this newly developed technology, the overall arrangement will include substantial recoupment payments from each company for commercializing a similar capability with another party. The agreement also contains termination provisions and other rights, including in the case of a change of control of Iridium.”

The company did not provide any further details.

“We think a SPA [service provider agreement] would be similar to the one with Garmin that sells the inReach product along with a satellite subscription to end users, with Iridium the wholesaler collecting network usage fees,” speculated the financial analysts at Raymond James in a recent note to investors.

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