SpaceX and T-Mobile recently made an announcement that they will be working together to offer satellite access to cellphones. In response, Google declared that Android 14 will have satellite connectivity capability and that it would assist partners in enabling the technology.
The news comes from Google’s Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems, Hiroshi Lockheimer, recalling how tough it was to get 3G + Wi-Fi operating on the original Android phone HTC Dream, also known as T-Mobile G1.
Satellite Connectivity in Phones, While Useful in Emergency Scenarios, Will Not Provide High-Speed Internet
T-Mobile has said that they will initially support texting, MMS, and a few chosen messaging apps. In addition, the company mentioned that in the far future, they would think about adding data and phone support.
The initial beta is scheduled to begin in late 2023, according to the network carrier. Even while support for older phones and Android devices is on the way, it would be far more useful if the operating system itself was supported.
That said, the known Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo also indicated that Apple is collaborating with Globalstar to introduce satellite service to the iPhone 14 series. The tech giant would have to disable the feature unless it can obtain the necessary legal permission in India.
Satellite connectivity on phones is largely intended for emergency scenarios and getting rid of cellular dead zones. T-Mobile is working on bringing support for SMS, MMS, and “certain messaging apps” to their customers. The carrier acknowledged the necessity for collaborative efforts with third parties in order to “separate messaging traffic from all other data traffic.”
This work has not yet begun, but it is planned for the future months. A future goal is to provide data and voice support. Late 2023 is being scheduled for the initial beta availability of this service.
There will be backward compatibility with older iOS and Android devices, but improved OS-level support would greatly improve the overall experience, especially for the end user. Meanwhile, T-Mobile and SpaceX are pushing for “reciprocal roaming” and shared spectrum to be adopted by other operators. As Android’s usage grows, it makes it logical for the operating system to offer native support.