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A New Space Race is Underway

Posted September 13, 2022

Ray Blanco

By Ray Blanco

A New Space Race is Underway

Something I’ve been following for quite a while is the space beat… Whether we’re talking about satellite internet, space travel, or space tourism, there have been some pretty exciting claims over the years. 

However, we haven’t seen much follow-through, until last Wednesday. If you didn’t catch it live last week, Apple delivered big news when it unveiled the latest iteration of its iPhone.

About a year ago rumors were swirling regarding moves being made at Apple, in particular the communications chips rumored to be going into the company’s next iPhone. According to the rumors, the new chipset would have the capability to support a communications band that could be used to talk to satellites. 

Based on these rumors and the purported frequency bands, the likely in-orbit operators would possibly be Globalstar or Iridium, which both use these bands in their existing satellite constellations. Shares of both companies soared on that news.

As it turns out, this was one rumor with a lot of truth. The new iPhone 14 will bring a global SOS feature—where you can send an emergency SOS from anywhere on the globe, delivered via satellite. The provider for these services will be Globalstar. 

But this opens up the opportunity for Globalstar competitors as well… 

Tech can always improve, and Globalstar will only be able to provide, at best, a very slow, anemic, service using a piece of spectrum that, while reliable, isn’t good for much more than low-bandwidth applications like emergency SOS messages. 

It’s of a similar level of performance to T-Mobile/Starlink’s upcoming handset service. SOS texts containing basic location information could take up to a minute to send.

What other space-related companies are building could provide full 4G/5G type speed and latency straight to a smartphone, which includes all the uses we’ve come to rely on wireless communications for. Things like streaming video and other data-intensive applications will become possible via large, high-throughput satellite constellations. 

All things considered, the space race is heating up! I plan on following this very closely as more and more updates roll out. 

I’m definitely excited about the potential for full-blown satellite internet similar to what Starlink is aiming for. Having full connectivity from your phone anywhere on the globe would be huge for the world. 

It would also be a huge opportunity for your portfolio as companies left and right compete to provide the best coverage and fastest speeds! 

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