We are a week away from Apple presenting its new family of phones and, at the moment, there are several cards on the table. One of them is the one that relates the terminals of the block with calls via satellite.
Just yesterday we released a piece of news that brought everything we knew and everything we assumed about the iPhone 14 and all its siblings. Because we are just a few days away from being official, with the Far Out event already scheduled for September 7.
Among the novelties that the iPhone 14 would bring, satellite calls are what have most attracted the attention of the public, who see this feature as something of the future, although this technology is decades old. By the way, iOS 16 should be the protagonist.
On Monday, famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple had “Completed hardware testing for this feature” with the iPhone 14, but that it would have to negotiate a business model with the operators if it wants to include it.
According to Kuo, “that the iPhone 14 offers the satellite communication service depends on Apple and the operators being able to agree on the business model“. Kuo says that this hurdle may have already delayed the feature once: According to him, the current iPhone 13 already supported the feature.
Last Thursday, T-Mobile (one of the largest operators in the United States) announced that was working with SpaceX to launch its own satellite emergency communications systemwhich will work with many existing 5G-capable phones.
For its part, AT&T is working with a company called AST SpaceMobile, whose goal is to provide broadband by streaming it to phones via satellite. Verizon has also partnered with Amazon’s Kuiper satellite project.
Since satellite networks usually operate all over the world, Apple may have to strike deals with international carriers and potentially the governments, they explain in The Verge.
The operation of satellite calls is simple: you just have to dial the number with which you want to establish communication, just like on any mobile phone, at that moment, the device will search for the closest satellite to send the call signal.
The satellite then returns the transmission to Earth to the gateway receiver, which relays the calls to ground systems. If the connection is not successful, the signal returns to space to find another link and connect the call; this process can be done as many times as necessary until a receiving ground system is found.
Today there are mainly three satellite telephone networks and 2 types of constellation: satellites in low orbit (Iridium) and satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO), also called geostationary satellites (Inmarsat and Thuraya).
Low orbit satellites require a more complex architecture, but guarantee excellent coverageeven in polar and mountainous regions, which is not always the case with satellites in geostationary orbit, where if a user is in a cave connection is impossible.