FP StaffMay 13, 2022 12:04:26 IST
There is no denying the fact that space tourism is on the horizon. When space tourism goes mainstream, there will be a number of services that tourists will require, and connectivity or telecommunications will be a major one. As fascinating and futuristic as it may sound, it seems Apple had thought of this, years ago, and are all set to make the first move.
Globalstar, An American satellite operator recently announced that they have entered into an agreement with one of the biggest tech companies in the world to build a new communications network. They also said that just a few months before the agreement, the company also bought 13 new satellites from them.
It is being said by tech and space enthusiasts in America that the company behind these purchases is Apple, and they plan to use Globalstar to provide satellite connectivity to an iPhone that they will be releasing in the future. In 2021, Bloomberg had reported that Apple was contemplating adding satellite-enabled communications to its mobile devices, turning them into satellite phones. Basically, Apple wants to take satellite phones mainstream.
Globalstar has exclusive rights to electromagnetic frequencies that are reserved for terrestrial use. What that means is that instead of working frequencies that are used in normal cellular coverage in populated, Globalstar’s frequencies work in areas where there’s no cell coverage, as it connects directly to a satellite, instead of the nearest tower.
Although the spectrum of frequencies they operate on hasn’t been able to generate a ton of money for them, theoretically, it is very valuable, since it promises the ability to seamlessly link affordable mobile phones to both cell towers as well as satellites.
While most populated areas have reliable cell coverage, satellite connectivity could be useful in rural areas or while travelling to far off places. Satellite operators salivate at the chance of tapping into the much larger terrestrial communications market, and other companies, like AST SpaceMobile and Lynx, are working on their own plans to plug regular mobile phones into satellite networks.
Most of Globalstar’s current customers are search and rescue operators, responders in the US, and other people who often have to go to areas where there’s no cellular coverage.
Apple’s tie-up with Globalstar can work in two ways. The first manner in which this can be implemented is that Apple users can directly link up with a communications satellite when they are in areas with no cellular coverage. Secondly, when space tourism becomes accessible to a lot of people, Apple can leverage their position as the only smartphone maker that can provide connectivity in space, and on the Earth.