SpaceX to buy IoT satellite firm

SpaceX has reached an agreement to buy Swarm Technologies. The two companies have requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transfer Swarm’s Earth and space station licenses to SpaceX as they will become a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary. 

Swarm offers remote Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity from sandwich-sized satellites at $5 per month per device. It sells a Swarm Tile modem for $119. The company first garnered media attention in 2018 for launching satellites without FCC approval, but now has around 100 satellites in orbit, and took its network live this year.

The company is vertically integrated, and built and designed its hardware, software, and protocols. The companies told the FCC this combination will strengthen their ability to reach unserved and underserved parts of the world, and pointed to synergies between the companies. 

This deal adds another area of satellite connectivity to SpaceX’s business, as it continues to build up its Starlink satellite broadband internet constellation. 

“Swarm’s services will benefit from the better capitalisation and access to resources available to SpaceX, as well as the synergies associated with acquisition by a provider of satellite design, manufacture, and launch services,” the companies said in the FCC filing. “SpaceX will similarly benefit from access to the intellectual property and expertise developed by the Swarm team, as well as from adding this resourceful and effective team to SpaceX.”

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