Spark to launch satellite-to-mobile service
June 6, 2023
New Zealand telco Spark is to provide a satellite-to-mobile service for Spark mobile customers, with a trial set to launch as early as the end of 2023.
The service will be delivered in partnership with satellite provider Lynk Global and will allow a subset of Spark mobile customers to opt-in to a free trial. More information on who will be able to participate in the trial, the opt-in process, and specific timings will be announced in the coming months.
This initial trial service will enable text messaging periodically during the day, building towards a more regular service during 2024 as more commercial satellites are deployed. At that time, the service will be offered to Spark customers more broadly. Spark also intends to offer voice and data services in the future, as these services become reliably available.
“We believe satellite has an important role to play in connecting Aotearoa New Zealand,” commented Tessa Tierney, Spark Product Director. “While satellite can’t provide 100 per cent coverage – as you need a clear line of sight to the sky to get connected – it certainly adds an additional layer of resilience, particularly now, as we face increasingly severe and frequent weather events due to climate change. And once there are more satellites launched and the service is available more broadly, it will allow our mobile customers to start to use their phones in more areas that aren’t reached by traditional mobile coverage.”
“We know that our customers will be eager to start using satellite messaging, but the technology is still evolving, so the service and experience will improve and expand as the number of satellites in the sky increases. That’s why we’ve chosen to trial this technology with some of our customers first, to make sure we can offer a great product to our customers when we make it widely available. We also need to integrate the technology into our network and achieve regulatory approval to launch the service. But we are excited to see the possibilities this creates for New Zealanders and will be working hard to make it widely available as soon as we can.”
“This partnership with Lynk, and our partnership with NetLinkz to offer a satellite business connectivity service are part of Spark’s broader strategy to use satellite as a part of our connectivity offer to customers. We are continuing to work with these and other potential partners to broaden the services Spark can offer.”
Spark recently announced a partnering agreement with Netlinkz to supply Starlink business-grade satellite broadband to customers later in 2023, following the completion of trials currently underway with a small number of New Zealand businesses.