In a significant development Apple’s satellite partner Globalstar, is collaborating with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch a new fleet of satellites. These satellites are set to upgrade the communication network that powers the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.
SpaceX launches satellites for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature
The financial details of this collaboration were disclosed in an SEC filing (as reported by Nola), revealing that Globalstar will be paying SpaceX a sum of $64 million. This payment will be distributed over the course of the years 2023 to 2025, aligning with SpaceX’s launch timeline for these satellites.
Apple introduced the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature last year in conjunction with the release of the iPhone 14 series. This innovative technology enables iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max users to contact emergency services even when traditional WiFi or cellular connections are unavailable. Emergency SOS via Satellite has helped to save countless lives since it was launched.
Globalstar plays a pivotal role as Apple’s partner in this endeavor, managing the satellite infrastructure that facilitates the Emergency SOS feature. At the initial launch, Apple promised to provide this service free of charge for two years, leaving users curious about its future pricing.
The $64 million investment from Globalstar to SpaceX is likely just a fraction of the overall satellite operational costs. These costs will inevitably be passed on to Apple, leading to speculation that Apple may introduce a nominal fee for users who wish to continue using the SOS option.
Under the agreement, Globalstar has committed to allocate a substantial 85 percent of its current and future network capacity to Apple’s iPhones. Globalstar is responsible for providing and maintaining all necessary personnel, software, satellite systems, and more while upholding stringent quality and coverage standards.
In preparation for the launch of the iPhone 14 models, Globalstar procured satellite equipment worth $327 million from a Canadian company, with Apple extending a loan of $252 million to support this initiative.
Currently, Emergency SOS via Satellite is available in several countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Portugal.