Satellite-to-phone race heats up with voice calls and cross-Canada access

Startups are making satellite connectivity more accessible with Lynk and AST SpaceMobile leading the charge. Rogers network customers in Canada will soon have direct satellite-phone connections thanks to a deal with Lynk, while AST SpaceMobile has made the first direct phone-to-satellite call using an unmodified consumer handset. Overcoming the technical challenges of terrestrial networking through a licensed carrier, comprehensive connectivity packages are now possible. Scaling remains a challenge, but it’s a significant step in the future of mobile plans, phone models and satellite services.

Lynk is aiming for as universal an SMS service as possible to ensure that no one stranded or out of range will be without signal. Its deals with various carriers across the world and a deal with Rogers Canada indicate the service is beginning to expand to new territories. The company’s SMS service provides indispensable information like shelter locations during power outages or natural disasters.

AST SpaceMobile has launched its first test satellite, paving the way for its constellation of satellites that will provide “2G, 3G, 4G LTE and 5G” coverage from space. While Apple and Iridium have emergency SOS services, they’re limited to pre-made messages and satellite sighting. T-Mobile and SpaceX also have plans to connect phones to a Starlink data connection soon. In the near future, satellite services will be a feasible line item on any mobile plan or phone model.

However, despite the progress, there’s still skepticism surrounding the scalability of the technology. But as companies continue to innovate, satellite connectivity may soon be a standard offering on any mobile plan or phone model. It’s a significant achievement in the world of technology, though, and a step forward for people who live in remote areas of the world. It gives them the ability to communicate with the world, even in the toughest of situations.

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