Globalstar, a satellite network operator with strong backing from tech giant Apple, has recently signed a $64 Million contract with SpaceX to launch satellites that support the iPhone 14’s “Emergency SOS” feature. The “Emergency SOS” Apple feature enables users to call or text emergency services even in areas without cellular coverage. SEC regulatory filings revealed some information about the deal that is set to upgrade Globalstar's existing satellite constellation.
The upcoming launches are scheduled for 2025 and will deploy a minimum of 17 new satellites into low Earth orbit that will expand Globalstar's satellite network. Notably, Apple has pledged to cover a significant portion of the capital expenditures associated with the satellite project. Specifically, Apple plans to reimburse Globalstar for 95% of the capital expenditures, including the launch costs. Additionally, Apple has committed to providing $252 million in funding to cover upfront expenses linked to refreshing the satellite constellation and further enhancing Globalstar's ground station network. In exchange for this substantial financial support, Apple has secured a significant advantage. The company will be able to utilize 85% of Globalstar's network capacity to offer “Emergency SOS” satellite connectivity services for iPhones in areas where cellular networks are unavailable.
This recent contract underscores the prevailing dominance of SpaceX in the orbital launch market. SpaceX is also in the midst of developing its own satellite constellation known as Starlink, which aims to provide global internet coverage. Consequently, SpaceX and Globalstar are increasingly becoming competitors in the satellite communication sector. SpaceX also is working on its plans to offer Starlink satellite-to-cellular services in the years to come.
The partnership between Globalstar and Apple, along with their collaboration with SpaceX, highlights the rapidly evolving landscape of satellite technology and its critical role in providing connectivity solutions, especially in remote or disaster-prone regions. As 2025 approaches, eyes will be on the successful deployment of these satellites and the ensuing benefits they bring to both Globalstar and its influential backers.
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About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.