WorldSpace® Partners with STMicroelectronics for European Satellite Digital Radio Chips
Aims to Produce a Complete System Solution to Propel Adoption of Digital Satellite Radio Services in Europe and the Middle East
Geneva, Switzerland, and Silver Spring, MD, USA, June 2008 - STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), the market leader in technologies for digital satellite radio1, has recently signed an agreement with WorldSpace® Satellite Radio (NASDAQ: WRSP), one of the world leaders in satellite-based digital radio services, to develop, manufacture and distribute chips for European Satellite Digital Radio (ESDR) receivers planned for a WorldSpace pan-European and Middle East service offering, starting with Italy in 2009.
The agreement between WorldSpace and ST is expected to lead to the first fully integrated device for channel decoding in ESDR receivers. Based on an open ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) standard, the ESDR technology enables WorldSpace to employ a hybrid satellite-terrestrial network, whereits satellites deliver broad geographical coverage at low cost, while terrestrial transmitters improve reception quality in urban and suburban areas.
WorldSpace Satellite Radio’s service offering will include 40-50 channels of commercial-free music, news, sports, talk and other personalized programming such as traffic, navigation and music downloads directly from the satellite, to each of its markets in Europe. The Company intends to launch its European service, beginning with Italy, in 2009, followed shortly thereafter by other major European and Middle East countries including Germany, Switzerland, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Designed using state-of-the-art CMOS technology, the new ST channel decoder device delivers high system integration and low current consumption. The chip is being tailored to ensure optimal reception in harsh conditions and to make maximum use of the available frequency spectrum.
In addition to the channel decoder, ST will provide three additional chips for WorldSpace digital radio receivers: a super-heterodyne RF tuner, a device for non-volatile secure data storage and the automotive version of ST’s Nomadik application processor. This ‘automotive grade’ chipset will handle the complete RF and base-band tasks, meeting the car industry’s stringent requirements for integration into OEM systems as well as after-market radio receivers.
These first ESDR satellite radio receivers will be available through retail stores and other aftermarket venues in the first half of 2009, followed shortly by OEM versions. Fiat Group Automobiles was the first to sign a distribution agreement with WorldSpace for both aftermarket and OEM receivers for certain of its Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models starting next year.
“WorldSpace and STMicroelectronics have a long-standing relationship and we are very pleased to continue that relationship through this agreement,” said Noah A. Samara, chairman and chief executive officer, WorldSpace Satellite Radio. “This agreement is another milestone on the path to providing a truly unique satellite radio experience throughout Europe, beginning with Italy. STMicroelectronics brings a long history of excellence in satellite radio endeavors to the table and their experience with the automotive qualification process and chip production should help propel our success in Europe, the Middle East and potentially other markets when we are ready to roll out.”
“We are pleased to play a key role in the introduction of Worldspace’s digital satellite radio service to European consumers,” said Domenico Rossi, Vice President of ST’s Automotive Product Group. “This important agreement marks twelve years for ST at the forefront of digital radio technology. We were the first to fit a complete digital satellite decoding circuit onto a single chip and have developed considerable expertise in mastering the entire radio receiver system from the RF to the baseband signal processing. Our contribution to Worldspace’s efforts in Europe draws on the success of satellite digital radio in the U.S., where the majority of receivers is powered by ST chips.”
“In 2007, STMicroelectronics maintained their position as number one supplier of Infotainment silicon with just over 11% market share worldwide,” said Richard Robinson at iSuppli, a market research firm. “The Company supplies a wide range of automotive-grade silicon solutions and is the dominant provider of Audio Amplifier and Satellite radio solutions with 56% market share for audio amplifiers, and 76% market share for Satellite radio.”
Data suggests the European market for satellite radio is similar to that of the U.S. market where today, there are approximately 18 million subscribers nationwide. European countries targeted by WorldSpace (Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, UK, France, Turkey and Poland) represent a combined population of approximately 420 million people and 180 million automobiles.
WorldSpace - Forward-looking Statements
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management’s current expectations or beliefs about future events and financial, political and social trends and assumptions it has made based on information currently available to it. The Company cannot assure that any expectations, forecasts or assumptions made by management in preparing these forward-looking statements will prove accurate, or that any projections will be realized. Such forward-looking statements may be affected by inaccurate assumptions or by known or unknown risks or uncertainties. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein. Forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this release. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether to reflect new information, future events or otherwise.
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