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iPhone 13 Users May Be Able to Text and Call Without 4G and 5G

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Apple is allegedly planning to include hardware in its upcoming iPhone 13 series that will support satellite communication connectivity.
iPhone 13 Users May Be Able to Text and Call Without 4G and 5G
File photo: iPhone 12 Pro Max

Upcoming iPhones to have support for satellite communications?

A well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity. As a result, this will allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage.  In his write up, Kuo bases this theory on Qualcomm's work with Globalstar:

There are many potential scenarios for Apple's business model cooperation with Globalstar. The simplest scenario is that if the user's operator has already teamed with Globalstar, the user can directly use Globalstar's satellite communication service on the iPhone 13 through the operator's service.

According to the source, Kuo explained that a customized baseband chip is able to connect to LEO satellites. If this is powered with relevant software features, this reportedly can enable the users to make calls and send messages without the need for a 4G or 5G cellular connection.

There's an assumption that iPhone 13 will sport a customized Qualcomm X60 baseband chip that supports satellite communications. Meanwhile, other mobile brands are said to be waiting until next year to adopt the X65 baseband chip needed to implement the technology mentioned.

SpaceX's Starlink is known as a distributor of LEO internet connectivity, but the LEO satellite communication service provider that is "most likely to cooperate with Apple in terms of technology and service coverage" is said to be Globalstar. Also, there are reports that Qualcomm has been working with Globalstar to support the n53 band in future X65 baseband chips.

Kuo explained that LEO satellite communications are a technology that can be compared to mmWave 5G in terms of its impact on the network industry. He says that Apple is "optimistic" about the trend of satellite communications and build a specific team for research and development of technologies related to it "some time" ago.

The analyst mentioned that the Cupertino giant has plans to bring LEO satellite communications to more devices in the future to "provide innovative experiences." These may include Apple's mixed reality head-mounted display device, electric vehicle, and other IoT accessories.


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