In a promising leap for mobile communication, consumers might soon be dialling into satellite communications right from their smartphones. Imagine being in a remote location or amidst a natural disaster, and your phone still buzzes with messages, calls, and data. This isn’t a distant dream but a fast-approaching reality.
What To Know? Currently, mobile devices use satellite communication (satcom) mainly for emergencies, especially to send messages. However, the horizon is expanding. Within a few years, regular calls and broadband access via satellites could become commonplace. Leading the charge, tech giants Qualcomm and MediaTek have already crafted chipsets that support this satellite connectivity.
MediaTek’s Anku Jain shared insights with ET, emphasizing that while satcom currently serves a niche market, it’s gearing up for mainstream adoption. Ensuring a smooth transition, MediaTek has designed its chipsets in line with global 3GPP standards, aiming for long-term interoperability.
Devices like the iPhone 14 and 15 have already embraced satellite connectivity, and more manufacturers are set to follow suit. Qualcomm’s Savi Soin highlighted the readiness of the technology but also pointed out the need for global standards, especially concerning satellite constellations.
Satcom in India: The Indian government is on the brink of authorizing mobility services for broadband-from-space license holders like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. This move will unlock satellite wireless connectivity for consumers with compatible handsets.
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Experts believe that as this technology matures, users might not even distinguish between receiving a call via a traditional network or a satellite one. MediaTek envisions a future where devices can effortlessly toggle between satellite and cellular networks, ensuring users always stay connected. This non-terrestrial network (NTN) will redefine connectivity, especially in regions beyond the reach of conventional networks.
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