UK news | With its satellite phone, a UK company challenges Elon Musk and the Apple iPhone 14

UK news | With its satellite phone, a UK company challenges Elon Musk and the Apple iPhone 14

With a new satellite-connected device, a British smartphone manufacturer intends to beat Elon Musk, the CEO of Apple and Tesla, to market, the BBC has discovered.

The Bullitt phone should automatically connect to one of two worldwide satellite networks if there is no wi-fi or mobile network connectivity.

There are rumors that the upcoming iPhone 14 from Apple may have emergency satellite communication.

Along with T-Mobile, Mr. Musk is developing a satellite phone service.

However, he claimed last month that “regulatory approval” of satellite launches was impeding plans, and that it was doubtful that the service would be made accessible until the end of 2023.

Users will initially only be able to send and receive text messages using Bullitt’s service, which is scheduled to go live in February 2023.

If the receiver downloads the Bullitt app, they will get the message as an SMS and be able to respond. They can use it for free, but the owner of a Bullitt phone must subscribe to the service every month.

The Reading-based company would not disclose the price but did suggest that it will be accessible in tiers, comparable to current mobile tariffs, and payable in addition to a conventional network contract. It hasn’t yet made the device’s pictures public.

Additionally, Bullitt asserts that its phone will automatically convert to a satellite in the absence of any other signal anywhere in the world, contrary to reports that Apple’s service is only for usage in emergencies in North America.

Bullitt co-founder Richard Wharton said, “What we have is a smartphone debuting in February that will be capable of two-way communications, through satellite, with worldwide coverage.”

“I’m hopeful we’ve moved ahead,” said the speaker.

According to Mr. Musk, phones using his platform could currently experience a 30-minute wait time before connecting to a satellite. However, Mr. Wharton stated that he thought the wait would only be a few seconds because of agreements with two international satellite networks, which he declined to name.

A custom chipset that has been created during the past 18 months with an Asian manufacturer is necessary for the handset, according to him. He said that the phone will only look for satellites in the absence of other signals, minimizing battery consumption.

There are “not-spots” all across the world, mostly in rural areas, where cell coverage is spotty or nonexistent.

Because it is difficult to provide cellular service throughout 100% of the nation, Mr. Wharton stated, “We want to partner with [network operators] and are supplying that infill, where there are coverage black spots.

The functionality of satellite phones has historically been limited, and weather conditions can often interfere with satellite reception.

According to Paolo Pescatore, a tech expert with PP Foresight, satellite technology “remains the next and last frontier in communication.”

“It is heartening to see service providers begin to take employing satellite for the final mile seriously. Ultimately, all users continue to place a high value on dependable and robust connectivity.”

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