Both executives alluded to the companies somehow selecting some of their existing satellites and repeaters for a better, future system – and making the merged system backward-compatible, meaning receivers in the field could get the newly merged service’s signals. I got the sense all this is far from worked out.
Parsons said disenfranchising current customers and obsoleting radios already installed in vehicles is not an option.
He also rejected the idea that the merger would leave spectrum available to be surrendered or sold back.
An interoperable radio seems to be getting renewed focus. Parsons mentioned the team of engineers of both companies that are working on it.
The upshot of combined R&D efforts, Karmazin told us, is radios that will be “smaller, lighter and cooler than today.”