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A variety of new communication functions will become available near the end of the decade when mobile satellite services (MSS) are introduced commercially in the United States and Canada. Mobile radios, hand carried radios and small fixed transponders will communicate directly through satellites into the telephone network or to private base stations. Voice, data, and position fixing services will be distance insensitive with good performance in difficult terrain and remote locations. Experiments with NASA satellites and studies in the U.S. and Canada demonstrated the technical feasibility and practical applications of mobile satellites. In 1983 Mobile Satellite Corporation, followed by Skylink Corporation, applied to the FCC for authorization to build and operate a land and aeronautical mobile satellite system for the United States. Canada had advanced its plans for an MSAT system. In response to these initiatives, the FCC issued a ``Notice of Proposed Rulemaking'' that proposed the allocation of radio spectrum for the new service and asked for applications from prospective providers. Twelve applications were received. The shortage of radio spectrum in the U.S. has resulted in much contention over the proposed allocations, and the numerous applications have introduced competing systems concepts. The paper describes a likely system implementation, its services and markets, and the current regulatory status.