In November 2022, Apple launched a new Emergency SOS via satellite feature in partnership with Globalstar. Available across iPhone 14 series, the emergency service uses Globalstar’s low Earth orbit (LEO) network to enable users to connect to emergency service via satellite in areas with no cellular and Wi-Fi connection.
As the iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite is free for two years, till November 2024, the subscription structure of the service is unknown. Therefore, Apple has invested an additional $252 million in Globalstar to keep the company afloat during the free Emergency SOS via satellite phase.
Globalstar will access Apple’s $252 million investment via funding on a quarterly basis
Apple has already invested $450 million in Globalstar to develop and maintain its infrastructure required to make Emergency SOS via satellite on iPhone 14 series possible and in return the company has committed 85% of its current and future network capacity for the latest safety feature.
Globalstar is an American satellite communications company that operates a low Earth orbit satellite network for satellite phone and low-speed data communications in remote areas without Wi-Fi and cellular coverage. Its services are available in more than 120 countries.
Space Exploded reports that the new $252 million prepayment to Globalstar is given in form of a loan through funding “on a quarterly basis, subject to certain conditions in the agreement.”
The agreement with Apple requires Globalstar to make payments over “a period of 16 quarters beginning no later than the third quarter of 2025.”
Apple’s continued investment in Globalstar, which operates the network of satellites utilized by iPhones, will keep the satellite firm afloat while enhancing its LEO network.
The company said that it planned to use the investment in the construction and launch of OLE satellites.
Globalstar says it “plans to use the proceeds of the Prepayment to pay amounts currently due and payable, and future amounts due, under its previously disclosed Satellite Procurement Agreement with Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation, as well as launch, insurance and ancillary costs incurred in connection with the construction and launch of these satellites.”
Currently, iPhone 14’s Emergency SOS via satellite is available in the United States, Canada, the UK, France, Ireland, and Germany and Apple plans to expand it to more countries in the coming months. The service has already proven to be a life saver.
A patent granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revealed that the company plans to expand satellite communication for calls, video streaming, and more, beyond iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via satellite service.