Iridium Communications Inc, a provider of Mobile Satellite Services via its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) communications satellite constellation, has signed a seven-year Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) contract with the US Department of Defense. The EMSS contract enables “unlimited” use of the Iridium mobile communications constellation – covering voice, data and broadcast services worldwide (pole-to-pole) – for over 125,000 mainly military users. The multi-year contract is worth US$738.5 million to Virginia-based Iridium, which will receive on average US$105 million per year for the contract’s duration.

This is, in effect, a renewal of a previous five-year EMSS contract signed between the parties in 2013, then worth US$400 million over the contract’s lifetime. The first agreement had been temporarily extended by five-months on several occasions before this final agreement was made.

In a separate development, Iridium signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with satellite operator OneWeb to work on a joint service offering for users. While OneWeb has no major military contracts, it does have a genuine broadband offering which Iridium lacks.

David Todd contributed to this story