Qualcomm, the chipmaker, has announced a collaboration with smartphone manufacturers to bring its Snapdragon Satellite communication system to smartphones at the MWC 2023 mobile fair.
Snapdragon Satellite is a satellite-based communication system allowing two-way communication for users. At MWC, the company named the smartphone manufacturers Honor, Motorola, Nothing, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi partners.
Qualcomm stated that Snapdragon Satellite would be available for all Snapdragon 4 to 8 series 5G modem RF systems and SoCs. Satellite communication can be used for emergency calls, SMS, and other text messages. The Snapdragon Satellite uses the Iridium system that has long been used for special satellite phones and accesses low-station satellites.
It is not yet known when the first devices with satellite communication will appear. Xiaomi’s latest high-end smartphone, the Xiaomi 13, does not yet support satellite communication.
Qualcomm has plans to expand the system to other device categories in the future, including the automotive and IoT sectors. In addition, Snapdragon Satellite will also support 5G NTN (Non-terrestrial Networks) in the future.
Snapdragon Satellite needs an X70 5G modem and a Qualcomm SoC to work. But existing phones with an X70 modem won’t get this feature because they don’t have the right technology.
The Snapdragon Satellite also needs a clear sky view to talk to the satellites. Qualcomm and Garmin collaborate on sending emergency messages via satellite, as Garmin already has an emergency call service called Garmin Response.
With Snapdragon Satellite, Qualcomm aims to connect remote areas and provide a reliable communication system during emergencies where traditional communication infrastructure is unavailable — similar to the feature introduced by Apple in the iPhone 14. Snapdragon Satellite is expected to be a game-changer in communication, providing many people with a reliable and cost-effective solution.