This is the most recent setback in what felt like a year when phone use outside of mobile networks was expected to increase due to satellite connectivity. Despite announcing their own satellite phone solutions, the three major US carriers have not progressed past tech demos.
For satellite service, T-Mobile teamed up with SpaceX’s Starlink, but AT&T has attempted to thwart the deployment out of concern that the service would infringe on its own spectrum.
In order to increase its coverage, AT&T partnered with AST Space Mobile, but it hasn’t made any additional announcements in almost a year. Similarly, Verizon said back in October 2021 that it would use Project Kuiper satellites from Amazon to provide connectivity, but it hasn’t released any new information since. (Amazon launched the initial satellites in the network of Project Kuiper last month.)
As of right now, the only smartphones available in the US with satellite connectivity are Apple’s iPhones. Stories of iPhone 14 owners using Emergency SOS to get help after falling into canyons and even to escape the deadly Maui wildfires have been scattered throughout the past year.
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