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LOE Satellites Enable Emergency Communications Via Smartphones, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Smartphones have the potential to offer lifesaving communications, as long as they can connect to a network when needed.  There are times when a traditional wireless network may be unavailable, particularly for users in very remote areas, such as hikers.  Satellites are a logical way to extend this potential.  Beginning in 2022, smartphone makers, including Apple and Huawei, began offering new handsets with the ability to send text messages via satellite networks (in addition to the usual routes of cellular systems and Wi-Fi.)  Apple initially launched its Emergency SOS via Satellite service on the iPhone 14, beginning with the U.S., Canada and certain nations in the EU/UK.  Apple’s service relies on communicating via Low Earth Orbit (LOE) satellites operated by Globalstar, and at launch was limited to one-way texts.  Huawei launched a similar service within China, utilizing the BeiDou satellite network.  T-Mobile is working with SpaceX’s Starlink system for similar capabilities.  Qualcomm and Iridium are also involved in a partnership called Snapdragon Satellite for Android phones.  Eventually, a global rollout involving a large number of firms will be seen.

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