Advanced Television

Apple invests in satellite-to-phone scheme

November 14, 2022

By Chris Forrester

BApple is investing $450 million (€435.6m) as part of its strategy to supply emergency Text/SOS messaging from satellites to suitable iPhones (initially iPhone 14 models).

Much of the cash goes to Louisiana-based satellite operator Globalstar which Apple has already announced as a key partner in the scheme.

The investment cash comes from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund and is focused initially on serving users in the US and Canada.

Apple says the investment does not represent an equity stake in Globalstar but the new cash will help fund new satellites as well as supplying ground-based teleports and new antennas which Apple is designing.

Globalstar has 24 satellites in low Earth orbit and some 300 staff will support the new service.

Apple’s service is free for the first two years and there are reports that Apple is considering charging for the service thereafter.

The technology sees an iPhone 14 user making a satellite emergency request, the message is received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low-earth orbit, it then sends the message to a custom ground station, which routes it to emergency services.

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