Iridium Communications is to acquire Satelles, a maker of highly secure satellite-based time and location services that complement and protect GPS and other GNSS-reliant systems.

Iridium describes Satelles’ Satellite Time and Location (STL) service as an easy-to-adopt, highly secure solution that increases the efficiency and reliability of timing systems for digital infrastructure like 5G base stations, data centers, and other critical infrastructure and protects against GNSS vulnerabilities using low-cost hardware that doesn’t require outdoor antennas.

Iridium’s first-ever acquisition will “continue [its] philosophy of investing in differentiating technologies uniquely suited to its network that significantly outperform competing solutions.

According to Iridium the market for assured Positioning Navigation and Timing (PNT) services, estimated to reach $3.5 billion in 2032, is evolving to require integrated small-form-factor devices instead of the server rack-size solutions connected to outdoor GPS antennas that are available today.

Iridium will now work to reduce the size and cost barriers to adoption, enabling deployment of a more accessible solution for integration with autonomous systems, consumer devices, vehicles and traditional markets like aviation, maritime and land mobile. It also provides an opportunity for Iridium’s existing partner eco-system to add to their portfolio of solutions and harden their GNSS-reliant products and infrastructure.

The STL service utilizes the stronger broadcast paging channels of the Iridium® satellite constellation to deliver precise timing information, which provides truly global, secure time and location signals that are 1,000 times more powerful than GNSS constellations. The service is resilient to regional GNSS outages, works inside buildings and is being used today to secure digital infrastructure for financial markets, governments, and major corporations.

STL will become a new business line of Iridium, led by Satelles chief executive Dr. Michael O’Connor.

Iridium had an ownership stake of around 20 percent from three previous investments in the company. For the remaining approximately 80 percent, Iridium will pay about $115 million, net of cash remaining in the company, which will be financed through a tack-on to its term loan. Iridium expects to complete the acquisition in the next few weeks.
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter