Apple's iPhone 14 equipped with satellite connectivity feature | Top points

Updated on Sep 17, 2022 04:31 PM IST

The tech giant has unveiled this feature with the newly launched iPhone 14 models. It will help to rescue the users out of emergency situation by notifying emergency service through satellite communication, even in the absence of cellular network or Wi-Fi connectivity.

If you cannot make emergency calls using cellular carrier network, iPhone 14 models can connect you to emergency service by satellite communication.(AFP)
If you cannot make emergency calls using cellular carrier network, iPhone 14 models can connect you to emergency service by satellite communication.(AFP)
By | Edited by Aryan Prakash

Technology giant Apple during its 'Far Out' event unveiled the iPhone 14 series. Among the high-end features of this brand new iPhone included satellite connectivity. The satellite connectivity can be used by the iPhone 14 users during emergency situations.

How does satellite communication work on a phone ?

Unlike conventional cell phones which have a network of ground-based cell towers to transmit and receive signals, a satellite phone connects directly to a constellation of satellites.

When we make a call from a satellite phone to someone who has a traditional cell phone, the signal is relayed from the satellite phone on the ground to one of the satellites within the line of sight.

This satellite captures the signal and further transmits it to the other satellite based on the destination (number of intermediate satellites depends on the receiving and transmitting place).

Next, the call is relayed from the nearest destination satellite to the ground station (Gateway). The call is then transferred to the nearest Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to deliver it to the recipient. PSTN will then provide further infrastructure for public telecommunication.

READ MORE: British mobile maker to launch satellite phone services next year: Report

How to use the satellite communication feature of iPhone 14?

If you cannot make emergency calls using cellular carrier network, Tap Emergency Text via satellite.

Alternatively, you can also go to Messages to text 911 (emergency telephone number for the United States and Canada) or SOS, then tap Emergency Services.

Then tap Report Emergency.

Then you need to answer the emergency questions to better describe the emergency.

You can also choose to notify your emergency contacts about your location and the nature of your emergency.

One needs to connect the iPhone with a satellite. For this, hold your phone in hand and follow the on-screen instructions.

After it gets connected, continue following the displayed instructions to stay connected while you send your message to emergency services.

Now your device is connected, and it will start texting emergency responders the critical information.

Limitations of this satellite communication feature

The tech giant says that for better communication, one should stand under a clear view of the sky and the horizon. The communication can get disturbed by trees, hills or mountains, canyons, and tall structures.

Even if you are under a clear view of the sky, it may take about 15 seconds to send a message by satellite. And depending upon the environment, it will further slowdown.

Which devices will support satellite communication?

This Emergency satellite communication feature will work only in the absence of cellular network or Wi-Fi connectivity.

To use this service, the user must possess the recently launched iPhone 14 model running on the upcoming iOS 16 software.

Indian users have to wait for this feature, as it is only available for the users of the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Canada.

Apple also points out the service might not work in places above 62° latitude, such as northern parts of Canada and Alaska.

What are the regulations for satellite communication enabled phones in India ?

The Department of Telecommunications(DoT) has prescribed the rules to avail the service of satellite communication enabled phones in India.

1. Specific permission or a no objection certificate needs to be obtained from the DoT.

2. A satellite handset and SIM can only be brought from BSNL, as only the state-run telecom enterprise has been authorised to use its gateway installed in India for provision and operation of satellite-based service.

What is the state of Tele-communication via satellite services in India ?

Indian citizens were advised by DoT in November last year to not pre-subscribe to Elon Musk's Starlink Internet Services as it has not yet got the licence necessary to give the service.

OneWeb has applied for approval to the Indian government authorities.

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