Apple is launching its Emergency SOS service in Canada and the U.S. later this month. The company is investing a significant amount of money to support its upcoming Emergency SOS service for iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. Apple says its Advancement Manufacturing Fund is providing the ability for customers to connect to a satellite for emergency services when network services are unavailable.
The Cupertino, California-based company’s investment of roughly $450 million USD (roughly $602 million CAD) is primarily going to Globalstar. The Covington, Louisiana-based company has stations based around the U.S. and operates a global satellite service. Apple’s investment is going toward’s Globalstar’s network and ground stations. These ground stations operate in Nevada, Hawaii, Texas, Alaska, Florida and Puerto Rico. The investment will help ensure iPhone 14 users are able to connect when cellular and Wi-Fi are unavailable.
Earlier this year, Apple unveiled its iPhone 14 and announced Emergency SOS will be supported by Globalstar and its spectrum in L and S bands. These are designed by ITU Radio Regulators and made for mobile satellite services.
In the event that an iPhone 14 user finds themselves without a signal and is in need of assistance, they can send an Emergency SOS request. One of Globalstar’s 24 satellites is able to pick up the request and send it to a ground station. These satellites travel roughly 16,000mp/h (roughly 24,600km/h). Once the ground station receives the request, emergency services are then contacted to dispatch assistance. Alternatively, the message is sent to an Apple-trained emergency specialist. This is in the event that the closest emergency service location is unable to receive text messages at the time.
“The launch of Emergency SOS via satellite direct to iPhone is a generational advancement in satellite communications, and we are proud that Globalstar’s satellites and spectrum assets will play a central role in saving lives,” said Jay Monroe, Globalstar’s executive chairman says in a statement. “With Apple’s infrastructure investment, we’ve grown our teams in California and elsewhere to construct, expand, and upgrade our ground stations, and we look forward to the next chapter in Globalstar’s lifesaving technology.”
Apple states Emergency SOS will be available via an iOS 16 update coming later this month. The service is confirmed to be free for at least two years with the purchase of an iPhone 14. Following this window, Apple may begin charging users for access.
There’s currently no word on when or if Apple plans to expand support of Emergency SOS to other regions around the globe.
Image credit: Apple