SAN FRANCISCO-AirTouch Communications said it is pursuing a license to offer Globalstar satellite communications in Malaysia through a venture with Sime Darby, a diversified conglomerate. Agreement terms specify that AirTouch-a 30 percent owner-will furnish technical and marketing expertise and Malaysia-based Sime Darby-with 70 percent ownership-offering general and financial management.
Qualcomm Inc. and Loral Corp. formed the Globalstar L.P. venture in March 1994 to own and operate the Globalstar network. AirTouch and an international consortium of companies-including Alcatel, Alenia, DACOM, Deutsche Aerospace, Hyundai and Vodafone-also became associates. Beginning in 1998, Globalstar L.P. plans to deploy 48 low-earth orbit satellites featuring voice, data, fax and global position locating services.
“With the (Malaysian) government expanding its telecommunications industry, there is a lot of untapped potential for service providers,” said Sam Ginn, AirTouch chairman and chief executive officer. Globalstar’s system will route calls through public and private cellular and fixed networks, making the system seem transparent to callers and receivers.
AirTouch added it plans to exercise its option through Globalstar L.P. to be an exclusive satellite service provider in Malaysia. The company already has provider rights in the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Sime Darby has 200 companies in 22 countries, including equipment and motor vehicle distribution, property development, manufacturing, insurance, and oil and gas.