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Samsung confirmed it would bring its own emergency satellite messaging service to its next high-end smartphones early next year. This follows the news of the South Korean company investing in a space-based cellular broadband network firm, which managed to establish the first-ever 5G connection for voice and data between an unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space. Unfortunately for Apple, this plan means a threat to its iPhone Emergency SOS in the future.

The news is not entirely new, as the South Korean company already confirmed the matter earlier this year. Nonetheless, this is the first time it shared some details about it, saying it will start in early 2024 with the brand’s flagship smartphone offerings. Given Samsung’s tradition of announcing new premium smartphones in January and February, this might suggest that the emergency satellite service might be included in the Galaxy S24. It is unknown, however, if this will cover all the models in the line or will be exclusive to the expensive Galaxy S24 Ultra model.

Park Yong-in, president of Samsung Electronics System LSI Division (via Sisa Journal-E), confirmed that technical preparations have already been made by the company to enable communication using satellites. It is unknown how exactly the service will work, but previous reports claimed that the company is exploring the possibility of allowing users to send messages to their contacts, not just to emergency relay centers.

It is unknown how Samsung will do this, but it will likely employ the help of a third-party company to fulfill this plan, just like Apple relying on Globalstar’s satellite. Currently, the South Korean titan has an agreement and understanding with the space-based cellular network AST SpaceMobile. Recently, the firm announced the success of establishing a 5G voice and data connection between an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 and its BlueWalker 3 test satellite.

As we reported last month:

In the video shared by the company, it was demonstrated how the company’s engineers made a call to an engineer in Madrid, Spain, while in a cellular dead zone in Maui, Hawaii. According to the team, it only used AT&T’s cellular spectrum and its satellite.

Aside from this, the company has also managed to attain a download rate of approximately 14 Mbps in a separate space-based cellular broadband data session test. In April, AST’s test for space-based voice calls using regular smartphones was also successful. All these results are the fruition of the company’s series of tests involving voice calls, 4G video calls, and 5G cellular broadband connections.

In a press release, AST shared that the speeds its tests have reached should allow not just voice calls and text messaging but also internet browsing, file downloading, and video streaming.

If pushed, this will be a huge threat to Apple’s Emergency SOS feature, which is limited to sending messages to a relay center. Aside from Samsung, the service might also soon become more widely available in the future, with AST having other agreements with other mobile network operators and companies globally, including AT&T, Nokia, Saudi Telecom Company, Vodafone, Rakuten, American Tower, Bell Canada, and more.


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