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Iridium announces Project Stardust for Global, Standards-Based IoT Connectivity
The company is currently working with several D2D and IoT-focused companies to understand and incorporate their use cases, requirements, and end-user needs into its planned service. The company anticipates testing to begin in 2025, with service in 2026.
Iridium announces Project Stardust for Global, Standards-Based IoT Connectivity
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 11, 2024

Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) has announced the development of Project Stardust, marking a significant evolution in its direct-to-device (D2D) strategy. This initiative aligns with the 3GPP 5G standards, embracing Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) Non-Terrestrial Network (NB-NTN) service development. By incorporating these advancements into its existing satellite network, Iridium uniquely positions itself to offer a blend of high-quality, proprietary, and standardized D2D and IoT services.

Currently, Iridium is harnessing the potential of its low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites to offer a unique opportunity for smartphone companies, OEMs, chipmakers, and mobile network operators (MNOs), along with IoT developers. This collaboration involves integrating their requirements into the Iridium network's framework. The company has already initiated direct collaborations with several leading entities in these sectors.

Matt Desch, the CEO of Iridium, highlights the importance of this venture, stating, "This is an exciting moment for Iridium and is a testament to the flexibility and capability built into our satellite constellation. The industry is moving quickly towards a more standards-based approach, and after surveying the field, we found that we're the best positioned to lead the way using our own network, particularly given our true global coverage."

Project Stardust is envisioned to enhance 5G NTN messaging and SOS capabilities across a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and vehicles. This development enables device manufacturers to integrate satellite connections into standardized devices, leverage Iridium's globally allocated spectrum, and offer an improved low-latency LEO user experience. Iridium's network, known for supporting numerous SOS and emergency incidents globally, is well-equipped with systems, processes, and partners to extend these capabilities to new devices.

Recognizing the market's need for swift product development and certification, Iridium is streamlining its onboarding processes. Chipmakers and NB-IoT developers are encouraged to join Iridium's extensive ecosystem, which includes about 500 partners. These entities can choose between proprietary, standards-based, or dual-solution integration for enhanced network redundancy. MNOs, in turn, will benefit from the ability to offer comprehensive coverage and support for off-grid use cases, backed by Iridium's unmatched reliability.

Iridium's LEO satellite constellation, with its fully crosslinked architecture and global L-band spectrum, stands out in comparison to other LEO and geostationary satellite networks. Certified for safety of life services by international regulatory bodies, the Iridium network is celebrated for its reliability and is the only network that offers connectivity everywhere on Earth. Its LEO positioning allows it to overcome the limitations such as line-of-sight issues, significant power requirements, and regional outages that geostationary systems often face.

As a recognized leader in satellite IoT and personal communications, Iridium brings over two decades of experience to the table. Supporting more than 2.2 million users worldwide, the company has seen a consistent subscriber growth, especially in the IoT customer segment. The Iridium network, known for its reliability, coverage, and low power requirements, is ideally suited for NB-IoT NTN services.

Iridium is actively working with various D2D and IoT-focused companies to integrate their use cases and requirements into the planned service. Iridium anticipates the start of testing in 2025, with the service expected to be operational in 2026.

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