In a collaborative move, Apple’s satellite partner, Globalstar, has inked a significant contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to propel a fleet of new satellites into orbit. These satellites are earmarked to bolster the communication infrastructure that underpins the emergency SOS feature on iPhones.
Valued at $64 million, this contract encompasses the deployment of 17 cutting-edge low Earth orbit satellites, scheduled for liftoff in 2025. Notably, Apple is stepping up to finance a substantial portion of Globalstar’s financial commitment, spanning the expenses associated with both satellite development and their journey into space.
In exchange for this investment, Globalstar has pledged to earmark a remarkable 85% of their existing and future satellite network capacity exclusively for Apple’s iPhone devices. Furthermore, Globalstar assumes responsibility for the provisioning and upkeep of this satellite constellation.
This partnership builds upon the foundation laid before the launch of the iPhone 14 Series, when Apple introduced the groundbreaking emergency SOS feature via satellite connectivity. To facilitate this, Globalstar embarked on a satellite equipment procurement endeavor worth a staggering $327 million from a Canadian firm. To expedite this initiative, Apple extended a substantial loan of $252 million to Globalstar.
The emergency SOS feature, currently available in several regions encompassing the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and beyond, is poised to become even more ubiquitous. Anticipated to be integrated into the forthcoming iPhone 15 Series, this collaboration between Globalstar and SpaceX holds the promise of enhanced emergency communication capabilities for Apple users worldwide.