MediaTek and Inmarsat have pledged to provide two-way satellite communications direct to smartphones, IoT devices and cars,
The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend their existing partnership to commercially deploy services to satellite-enabled devices.
The collaboration will speed up the launch of new 5G Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) services from Inmarsat which provides global sat comms services to the maritime and aviation sectors.
They have already trialled live, in-orbit tests of real-life applications. MediaTek chipsets and Inmarsat’s L-band network are also being tested by network operators and device manufacturers for direct-to-device, two-way satellite connectivity.
The agreement is expected to speed up the provision of 5G satellite-enabled devices and services such as two-way text messaging, emergency communications, device tracking and monitoring to smartphones, IoT devices, automotive and other industries.
MediaTek chipsets and Inmarsat’s L-band network are also being tested by mobile network operators and device manufacturers for direct-to-device, two-way satellite connectivity.
Inmarsat chief commercial and digital officer Jat Brainch said:
“With MediaTek, we can offer smartphone companies and others a fast and consumer-friendly path to the satellite-to-device capability that allows two-way communications and does not require complex “aiming” of the device.
“Our network has the potential to support a revolution in direct-to-device, IoT and car connectivity. So we are delighted to be partnering with MediaTek, a recognised world-leading innovator in 5G NTN technology.
‘The combination of our joint capabilities can bring rapid access to 5G satellite services for consumer and professional users, and the wider 5G ecosystem across the world.”
JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President of MediaTek, said;
“The partnership opens up new possibilities for the convergence of cellular and satellite networks. MediaTek is a leading solution provider and contributor to 3GPP NTN standards. Our work with Inmarsat GEO satellites will drive 5G innovation across multiple markets, including smartphones. Inmarsat’s narrowband satellite network and the spectrum capacity will be able to support a multitude of new devices and services.”
Inmarsat provides sat comms and navigation to the maritime and aviation sectors.
MediaTek develops systems-on-chip for mobile, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products to multimedia products such as smartphones, tablets, digital televisions, 5G, Voice Assistant Devices (VAD) and wearables. The two industry leaders are focused on enabling mobile operators, smartphones and other device manufacturers to offer satellite services, such as two-way text messaging, emergency communications, device tracking and monitoring, among other capabilities, without the need for pointing on most devices.
Smartphone satellite connectivity to consumers got a boost last year with the iPhone 14 Pro getting a satellite SOS text service.
In January Bullitt Group launched an Android and iOS app called Bullitt Satellite Messenger, This is a subscription service that provides SOS messaging via satellite when no wifi or cellular coverage is available.