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Apple has announced a new $252 million investment in its satellite communications partner Globalstar, as the tech giant continues to expand its Emergency SOS service.
The latest investment comes in the form of a loan, following Apple’s earlier $450 million investment in the satellite company. Globalstar operates the network of satellites used by Apple’s iPhone 14 for its free two-year Emergency SOS service.
The Emergency SOS feature allows iPhone 14 users to send location and text data in areas not covered by a cellular connection, using low Earth orbit satellites. Although pricing details have not been released, Apple is expected to charge a service fee for Emergency SOS at the end of next year. The continued investment in Globalstar will enhance its LEO network while keeping the satellite firm afloat.
Globalstar will use the $252 million prepayment to pay amounts currently due and payable, and future amounts due, under its previously disclosed Satellite Procurement Agreement. The firm will also use the funding for launch, insurance, and ancillary costs associated with the construction and launch of these satellites. Prior to Apple’s prepayment, Globalstar had planned to secure third-party financing for these costs.
The agreement between Apple and Globalstar requires the latter to make payments over a period of 16 quarters beginning no later than the third quarter of 2025. Apple’s Emergency SOS feature was introduced in November 2022 and is currently available in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Ireland. The earliest adopters of Apple’s service will lose free access in November 2024 when a fee will be introduced.
As Apple continues to invest in satellite communication technology, it is expected to expand its Emergency SOS service to more countries. With the rise of remote work and travel, access to reliable satellite communication is becoming increasingly important. The investment in Globalstar could pave the way for further innovations in this area.