Advanced Television

Globalstar picks SpaceX for launches

September 6, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Globalstar, in an SEC regulatory filing, says it has placed a launch order with SpaceX to start replacing its low Earth orbiting satellites beginning in 2025. But placing the contract with SpaceX means that it is using SpaceX to try and gain a speedy commercial advantage for satellite-to-device connectivity.

SpaceX is already working with operators such as KDDI of Japan, and Canada’s Rogers for ‘direct-to-device’ services. It has a “strategic technology partnership” with T-Mobile for cellular connectivity.

SpaceX is also challenging Globalstar’s (current) exclusive use of the 1610-1617 MHz and 2483-2500 MHz bands for what is termed ‘Mobile Satellite Services’ usage. SpaceX is arguing with the FCC that the frequencies should also be available to them.

Globalstar itself is working with Apple on connecting its latest iPhones for emergency coverage around the planet. Apple’s iPhone 14 users can already access Globalstar’s existing 24 satellites when access to normal cellular towers isn’t possible.

Globalstar will pay SpaceX $64 million for launching the first batch of satellites. Globalstar is buying 17 satellites for $327 million from Canada’s MDA which will start being delivered in 2025.

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