In 2023, satellite connectivity was a big deal in the smartphone industry, as demonstrated by Qualcomm’s announcement of “Snapdragon Satellite” in January and Samsung’s introduction of its version of the technology for Exynos chips. MediaTek is currently outlining its plans for satellite connectivity, which will soon be present in actual devices.
The company will announce that its chips will support the 3GPP Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN) for smartphones at MWC 2023. MediaTek is also announcing that it will launch support for 5G New Radio NTN (NR-NTN). This technology will be available in smartphones that will be released shortly.
MediaTek’s technology, like those of Qualcomm and Samsung, will make it possible to send two-way messages via satellite to “fill the gaps” that traditional networks have left, especially in emergencies. MediaTek’s initial focus is on smartphones, but the company plans to apply this technology to other form factors, such as automobiles.
Satellite networks aim to fill gaps in mobile coverage, offering a reliable way for devices to communicate in remote locations. With satellite-enabled smartphones, consumers can stay in touch when they are hiking, driving in secluded areas, on a boat, or in other situations where there has traditionally been no connectivity; this will not only provide users with peace of mind, but also enable them to request assistance in emergency situations. Today the biggest market opportunity for 3GPP NTN technology is smartphones, although there is a growing demand for satellite connectivity in IoT applications such as agriculture, forestry, and logistics. The automotive industry will also be a major market for satellite communications technology in the coming years.
Bullitt, beginning with the Motorola Defy 2 smartphone and the CAT S75 smartphone, will be the first to launch satellite connectivity based on MediaTek hardware, according to MediaTek. CAT S75 can be ordered now, and Defy 2 will be available in Q2 of this year.
However, Motorola Defy Satellite Link’s use of MediaTek as the foundation for satellite connectivity is even more intriguing.
Using the Bullitt Satellite Connect platform, users of Android or iOS can connect their smartphones to satellites with this Bluetooth accessory. This makes emergency SOS, location sharing, and two-way messaging possible. Starting in the second quarter of this year, the addition will be available for $99 or $149 with 12 months of service (up to 30 two-way messages per month).