SpaceX has entered into a partnership with Globalstar, the satellite partner behind Apple’s innovative Emergency SOS via Satellite feature. The collaboration aims to upgrade the network infrastructure that supports this life-saving feature on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models.
According to an SEC filing reported by Nola, Globalstar will pay SpaceX $64 million to support the satellite launch, with payments spanning from 2023 to 2025 to align with SpaceX’s launch schedule.
Apple first rolled out the Emergency SOS via Satellite service last year in tandem with the launch of its iPhone 14 series. This technology has revolutionized safety measures by enabling iPhone users to reach emergency services even in the absence of traditional WiFi or cellular connectivity.
Since its introduction, the feature has been credited with saving numerous lives. Globalstar serves as the key satellite infrastructure provider for this feature, thereby occupying an essential role in Apple’s safety-focused vision.
As part of this commitment, Globalstar has dedicated a whopping 85 percent of its current and future network capacity to Apple’s iPhones. The company will also oversee the provision and maintenance of essential personnel, software, and satellite systems while adhering to high-quality and coverage benchmarks. This satellite partnership comes after Globalstar invested $327 million in satellite equipment from a Canadian company. Apple supported this procurement through a loan of $252 million.
The financial collaboration between Globalstar and SpaceX could have implications for the future pricing of the Emergency SOS feature. Given that Globalstar’s $64 million investment is likely only a portion of the total operational costs, there’s growing speculation that Apple might introduce a nominal fee for continued access to the SOS service.
Currently, the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is accessible in a variety of countries including the United States, Canada, several European nations, and Australia and New Zealand.
The partnership with SpaceX promises to enhance the effectiveness and reliability of this critical service, potentially making it a standard feature in smartphones worldwide.