Apple is investing $450 million into satellite infrastructure to insure its Emergency SOS via satellite service for the iPhone 14 series launches in November as scheduled.
A majority of the funding goes to Globalstar, a global satellite service based in Louisiana.
iPhone 14 emergency satellite communications coming soon
A highlight of all the iPhone 14 models is the ability to use satellites to text for help in emergency situations. This will be a tremendous boon for hikers, boaters and anyone traveling through the remote sections of the United States or Canada where cell service isn’t available.
When Apple announced Emergency SOS via satellite in September, it promised the feature would be debut in November. On Thursday, it reiterated that promise though it did not commit to a specific day.
At launch, the service will only be available in the United States and Canada. And only the four iPhone 14 models have wireless modems and antennas capable of communicating with low-earth orbit.
A big investment in America
Before the official announcement, leaks pointed to Apple working with Globalstar on an emergency satellite service. Thursday’s announcement confirms these reports. Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund is making a $450 million investment in satellite infrastructure. As noted, most of this goes to Globalstar.
The satellite texting service on iPhone 14 employs the spectrum in L and S bands specially designated for mobile satellite services by ITU Radio Regulations.
The Globalstar ground stations used by the service include new high-power antennas designed and manufactured specifically for Apple by Cobham Satcom in California. The stations are located in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada Texas and Puerto Rico.
“Emergency SOS via satellite is a perfect example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “We are proud this service is enabled by leading US companies, and that our users can explore off-the-grid areas knowing they are still within reach of emergency services if they are in need.”