Intel and Qualcomm Bid to Acquire Iridium, a Leading Satellite Operator

Intel ($INTC) and Qualcomm ($QCOM) are aggressively bidding to acquire Iridium Communications ($IRDM), a leading provider of voice and data mobile satellite services (“MSS”).

Washington, DC – USA | May 12, 2021 –[Press Release Wire]– It’s reported that Intel’s new CEO Patrick Gelsinger made a play for the McLean-based satellite communication company, but was slightly outbid by Qualcomm.

The bid came after Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger traveled to McLean, Virginia last week to meet with Iridium executives.

According to company sources, the tech giants aim to integrate Iridium Satellite services across their chip portfolio for smartphones, next-generation laptops as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and other infrastructure networking solutions.

A while ago, Intel launched the first satellite, PhiSat-1, equipped with on-board AI-processing technology with ESA (European Space Agency (ESA). Intel heavily relied on Iridium’s satellite connectivity technology in Movidius Myriad-2 chip used in PhiSat-1.

Intel’s main competitor, Qualcomm, has plans to integrate satellite networks with 5G and Wi-Fi connectivity in the new Snapdragon chips, allowing consumers to leverage the vast ecosystem of mobile devices. Qualcomm is said to be among the entities that expressed interest in acquiring Iridium.

As of May, 2021, Iridium operates the constellation of 66 active satellites (and 9 spares in space) used for worldwide voice and data communication from hand-held satellite phones and other transceiver units.

Recently, Iridium also attracted significant interest from public investors, including Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest and Baron Funds.

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