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Globalstar, the company responsible for Apple’s satellite-powered SOS application, reported a significant 50% rise in quarterly sales on August 3rd, attributed to promising growth in its business of connecting remote Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Approximately half of Globalstar’s $55 million revenue during the quarter ending on June 30th was generated by wholesale capacity service revenues, largely driven by Apple. Apple has been utilizing Globalstar’s satellites since November for its iPhone emergency messaging feature.

In addition, the company’s commercial IoT segment contributed $9 million to the revenue, marking a 33% increase compared to the same period last year. Globalstar aims to expand this IoT business by introducing two-way services by the end of 2023. Currently, the IoT services are unidirectional, offering tracking and monitoring functions in regions with poor or no terrestrial network coverage. The integration of two-way capabilities would empower customers with command and control functionalities.

Apple is supporting Globalstar in launching 17 new satellites to enhance its low Earth orbit fleet. In exchange, Apple will have access to 85% of the satellite capacity for its emergency messaging requirements. The remaining 15% of capacity could potentially accommodate a substantial increase in commercial IoT subscribers, as indicated by B. Riley analyst Mike Crawford.

According to CEO David Kagan, Globalstar is confident about securing a substantial portion of the remaining satellite capacity, especially following the implementation of its two-way module.

Kagan stated that half of the required infrastructure for the two-way IoT service has been deployed across Globalstar’s gateways. The company is preparing to initiate beta services for select clients later this year.

Furthermore, Globalstar confirmed that its upcoming next-generation satellites are progressing as scheduled for launch in 2025. These launches adhere to the original agreements with MDA and Rocket Lab. The satellites are currently entering a critical design review phase, indicating steady progress in their development.

The supply chain challenges that previously caused delays in producing Globalstar’s legacy Spot GPS and messaging devices have been resolved by mid-April, as reported by Kagan during the earnings call.

Despite a 4% decrease in Spot service revenues for the second quarter of 2023, Kagan anticipates a surge in subscriber numbers throughout this year. Adjusted EBITDA witnessed a substantial 86% increase, reaching $27 million.

The company has revised its revenue expectations for 2023, now projecting a range between $200 million and $230 million. This represents a growth of 35% to 55% compared to 2022. The earlier guidance had indicated total sales between $185 million and $230 million for 2023. These estimates exclude potential revenue from Globalstar’s spectrum leasing for terrestrial use.

During the earnings call, Globalstar’s Executive Chair, James Monroe, expressed optimism about the adoption of devices capable of utilizing the company’s Band 53 frequencies. Monroe expects these devices to reach hundreds of millions by the same time next year, as Globalstar continues discussions with terrestrial partners and regulatory authorities worldwide.


Until recently, Apple’s involvement in the satellite industry was not a thing, despite being a highly respected company and having many industry professionals use their products. However, last year, Apple partnered with Globalstar to offer Emergency SOS through satellite technology to users of the iPhone 14, providing emergency services to individuals who are in remote locations without access to terrestrial or wireless connections. This partnership has generated a lot of excitement in the industry, as it marks a major collaboration between one of the world’s largest companies and the satellite sector.

Michael Trela, the Senior Director of the Satellite Connectivity Group at Apple, was part of a team that created the Emergency SOS via satellite feature, which provides access to emergency services for iPhone 14 users who are off the grid and away from a terrestrial and wireless connection. Trela had worked with Skybox Imaging, a pioneer in the New Space era, before joining Apple’s staff. Trela won the 2022 Satellite Technology of the Year award and spoke with Via Satellite about creating a life-saving service and the possibility of further collaboration with the satellite sector. Trela mentioned that Apple viewed satellite connectivity as an important way to extend its safety features and that many teams across Apple collaborated to bring this capability to millions of customers.

According to Michael Trela, senior director of the Satellite Connectivity Group at Apple, the Emergency SOS via satellite is a critical feature that allows users to have two-way messaging with emergency services when they have no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. This feature has been saving lives since its launch in the U.S. and Canada in November 2021 and has since expanded to several European countries. Trela emphasized the impact of the technology rather than the technology itself and shared an example of how the feature was used to rescue five people whose fishing boat capsized in Key West, Florida.

Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite has already saved many lives around the world. Michael Trela mentioned an example of how it helped a fishing boat capsized in Key West, Florida, where a person used Emergency SOS to contact local emergency services and all five people were rescued. Another example took place in Alaska, where a snowmobile rider activated Emergency SOS and their GPS coordinates were relayed to the local authorities, who deployed the search and rescue team and found the user without incident. Additionally, in California, a couple survived a car accident after Fields’ iPhone detected a vehicular crash and sent a message with Emergency SOS via satellite to emergency call centers, and emergency responders were able to locate them. According to Trela, the Alaska state troopers were impressed with the accuracy and completeness of the information included in the initial alert, inspiring one of them to upgrade to an iPhone 14.

The story is interesting because it highlights the real-life impact of Apple’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature. One person in Key West, Florida, used the feature to contact emergency services and was rescued along with four others after their fishing boat capsized. In Alaska, a snowmobile rider activated the feature when they got into difficulties in an area without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, and their GPS coordinates were relayed to local authorities who found and rescued them. In Southern California, a couple’s car plunged over a 300-foot cliff, and the iPhone’s Emergency SOS via satellite feature alerted emergency services, who rescued them within 30 to 40 minutes. What’s notable is that the Loyola Marymount University scheduling coordinator who survived the accident in California wasn’t even aware of the feature until after the accident, but credits it with saving her life.

It is definitely a valuable lesson, and one that we should all keep in mind. Emergency SOS via satellite is just one example of how technology can have a significant impact on our lives. It is important to appreciate the role that technology plays in our lives, and to stay informed about the latest developments and applications. With Emergency SOS via satellite, Apple has demonstrated its commitment to using technology for good, and it will be interesting to see how this service evolves and expands in the future.

According to Globalstar, Apple is providing the company with $252 million to support and cover upfront costs for replenishing its low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation.

Apple is giving the funds as a prepayment for using the network to upgrade satellite services launched last year for its latest iPhone 14 Models, which can connect with one of Globalstar’s existing 24 satellites in LEO for emergency services outside cellular coverage.

Globalstar picked MDA and Rocket Lab in February 2022 to supply an initial 17 satellites for launch by the end of 2025 in a contract worth $327 million. The contract includes an option for up to nine additional satellites at $11.4 million each.

The satellite operator intends to fund any upfront costs not covered by Apple’s prepayment with its own cash.

Apple has already agreed to reimburse Globalstar for 95% of the constellation; however, it previously required the satellite operator first to raise third-party financing to fund the manufacturing contract.

Removing the need to raise this financing amid challenging macroeconomic conditions clears a significant degree of uncertainty for Globalstar’s constellation plans. 

Last year, the operator sought to extend payment deadlines under its manufacturing contract as rising interest rates made closing the financing difficult.

Globalstar’s shares jumped more than 10% on the news.

In a regulatory filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, the company said it expects the prepayment to be recouped in installments beginning no later than the third quarter of 2025.

Globalstar is allocating 85% of the capacity on its next-generation constellation to Apple. The operator plans to continue offering legacy services including connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices with the remaining 15%.

Apple has not said how it could use Globalstar’s new satellites to improve satellite-enabled features. 

The company is currently offering its satellite-enabled SOS capability on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro for free for two years.