Nice.. Iridium is a much better network than GlobalStar that Apple uses (Iridium has truly global coverage because the satellites are meshed, while globalstar has a “bent pipe” construction that has to send everything right back to earth). The Iridium satellites are much more intelligent and can really work together, globalstar is a kind of mirror that ‘reflects’ your signal back to earth so you have to be near a ground station.
Also very interesting if you can use this not only for emergencies but also for SMS and small pictures.
At the moment I use a Garmin InReach Mini that also uses the Iridium network for short text messages (no images) and emergency assistance. It would be nice to have that in one device. Although you may have to align the antenna manually due to the less gain, as Apple also does on the iPhone 14, but for how little I use it, that’s not really a problem.
The Apple option is too limited with only emergency assistance (moreover, I have too many normal smartphone requirements that cannot be used on iOS). Otherwise I would have bought a PLB (a Personal Locator Beacon), which can also only request emergency assistance and has no subscription costs, which the InReach Mini does have. But being able to send and receive short messages wherever you are (I hike a lot) is the area of application for me, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an emergency.
But smart of Samsung to focus on this. For me, it’s really a feature I’d pay more for. The InReach has already cost me 300 euros and the subscription is 20 per month (in the months that I use it). That is much more useful to me than another extra camera or a few GB more storage that I don’t use anyway. But it really has to be for more than just emergency aid, ordinary communication outside network coverage is the scenario I’m looking for.
Iridium is a much better network than Globalstar. I totally agree with you. But an in-reach antenna or an Iridium telephone antenna that extends cannot be compared to the antennas in your smartphone that can make contact through tuning and alignment, but it never really becomes optimal.
But Iridium also needs a clear view to the satellite and doesn’t work if you’re stuck in a canyon, or works less or in fits and starts if you’re between dense forests or in a city. In Emergency, I would really rather trust in-reach than a Samsung S23. Despite that, I think it’s great that Samsung is going to do this.
Just like Globalstar, Iridium also works with ground stations/gateways, but after the bankruptcy of Iridium 1, quite a few ground stations were scrapped to save costs for a restart as Iridium LCC. After a financial injection and a substantial purchase of devices with subscriptions by the US army, Iridium was saved.
And Iridium also has 2 systems, the trusted Iridium net for voice, SMS and slow data and Iridium Next which replaces the old satellites. Unfortunately, satellites have a limited shelf life. That is why “spares” are often launched. Satellites that are on standby until a satellite fails or is hit by debris etc in space. You also see that networks shift with satellites for coverage and capacity, Ukraine is now an example of this. So the coverage is always a risk.
I find the function beautiful and spectacular on the one hand. On the other hand, I find this exciting for everyday practice:
Anyone who buys a state-of-the-art phone often studies the possibilities, price plans (for example a prepaid SIM card or a subscription), coverage regions, etc. in advance. Iridium has cheaper prepaid region SIM cards for example and more expensive worldwide ones. These customers are aware of the possibilities and impossibilities and the coverage of satellite communication.
My concern is precisely with the average consumer: they have no idea under what circumstances a satellite connection will or will not work. Your device software can certainly help you with this (see the Apple implementation), but it is rather sour when someone goes hiking in a mountain or goes into a canyon and only concludes that the satellite connection will not work if you fall with a broken leg. motionless there. Then the function is actually more dangerous than it gives comfort. Unfortunately, I see very little of this in the communication and news reports so far. So whether the average consumer doesn’t just think they have the same connection everywhere as they do now on 2,3,4 and 5G? I already hear that colleagues think that their mobile works via satellite or that mobile telephony is completely wireless, instead of via fixed transmission towers that are connected to the network with cables.
But honestly: for me it would be something to buy a Samsung top model again.