Motient Corp. of Reston, Va., has agreed to sell its “retail transportation products and services” to Aether Systems of Owings Mills, Md., both companies said in a joint announcement Wednesday.

Those products and services include the mobile communications systems marketed by Motient, which was known as American Mobile Satellite until a name change in April. American Mobile, established in 1988, was one of the first mobile communications providers to the trucking market.
According to the announcement, Aether will pay $45 million for the business plus up to $22.5 million based on revenue and other incentive targets in 2001. Aether has agreed to a long-term reseller arrangement of Motient satellite and terrestrial network services for $25 million over three years.
Aether will continue to offer products such as MobileMAX2, Motient’s compact onboard communications system, and Motient’s Mobile Messaging Service, which is capable of switching from satellite communications to less expensive terrestrial options depending on availability.
Motient said the deal will allow it to concentrate on its burgeoning wireless e-mail business. Meanwhile, Aether becomes Motient's largest wholesale customer.
The deal will be contingent on regulatory approval and other customary conditions. The Motient acquisition will be Aether's eighth since it went public almost one year ago.