Niche for Now, Satellite Smartphones Could Answer the Call for Rural Connectivity

By Jeff Johnston

October 27, 2022

Key Points

  • Advancements in battery density, chipset processing power, and antenna technology have now made it possible for smartphones to connect with satellites for some basic services. This means the latest smartphones outfitted with this tech will soon work anywhere in the U.S., regardless of cellular coverage.
  • In conjunction with Globalstar, Apple recently announced satellite service with its iPhone 14, giving them a two-year lead in the market.
  • T-Mobile and SpaceX also announced plans to offer smartphone satellite connectivity, but will begin beta trials towards the end of 2023.
  • Initially, Apple’s service will be limited to some basic text messaging and an SOS feature that sends a user’s latitude and longitude to first responders in emergency situations.
  • However, voice calling and more advanced data services should be available as new satellites launch and the service evolves. This could have a profound impact on communication options for unserved rural Americans.

Read the Report


Disclaimer: The information provided in this report is not intended to be investment, tax, or legal advice and should not be relied upon by recipients for such purposes. The information contained in this report has been compiled from what CoBank regards as reliable sources. However, CoBank does not make any representation or warranty regarding the content, and disclaims any responsibility for the information, materials, third-party opinions, and data included in this report. In no event will CoBank be liable for any decision made or actions taken by any person or persons relying on the information contained in this report.


Stay ahead of the game in your field. Subscribe today.

Get CoBank's industry-leading Knowledge Exchange research reports delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they're released.

Have a comment or question about these reports?

Contact CoBank's Knowledge Exchange team to ask questions, engage with analysts or receive additional information.