ALLIEDSIGNAL IS TO provide an aeronautical-telecommunications service using the Iridium satellite-based mobile-telephone system. The service is due to be available early in 1999 and is expected to undercut Inmarsat-based satellite-communications costs, rivalling those of terrestrial flight-telephone systems.

The tie-up with AlliedSignal is revealed in the Flight InternationaI newsletter, In-Flight Entertainment International (IFEI). Iridium admits that it has a "business relationship" with AlliedSignal.

Iridium expects that AlliedSignal will provide "overall development" for passenger communications. As well as hardware manufacture, AlliedSignal will be responsible for obtaining the "appropriate regulatory arrangements". Iridium adds that "-they will also be a non-exclusive service provider on a global basis". Aviation use is expected to account for 5% of call volume.

Source: Flight International