It was rumored last year that Samsung will equip the Galaxy S23 with satellite connectivity for emergency calling and messaging, similar to the iPhone 14. However, that didn't happen, and the Galaxy S23 lacks satellite connectivity for emergency services. It is reported that Samsung will bring satellite connectivity to its phones next year.
In an interview with Yonhap News (via @Tech_Reve), Lee Jong-ho, Minister of Science and ICT in South Korea, claimed that domestic smartphone brands are expected to launch a service that brings data transmission between 5G phones and satellites next year. Since Samsung is the only big smartphone brand in South Korea (after LG shut its smartphone division), it is widely understood that Samsung could bring satellite connectivity to its phones next year.
Lee Jong-ho said in the interview, “I cannot say for sure, but I know that the domestic industry is considering commercializing the service next year, expecting that a standard related to satellite communication will be prepared next year.”
Galaxy S24 could get two-way satellite connectivity in 2024
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, used in Samsung's high-end phones released this year, can connect to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites for emergency calling and messaging services. However, the Galaxy S23, Galaxy Z Flip 5, and Galaxy Z Fold 5 lack satellite connectivity. Samsung explained earlier this year that the satellite connectivity ecosystem isn't mature yet, and it would wait for the ecosystem to improve before bringing the new feature. The South Korean firm is said to be working with Iridium Communications, which has a low-earth orbit satellite constellation for emergency communications.
Next year, the company is expected to launch the Galaxy S24 in the first quarter of the year. The Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+, and Galaxy S24 Ultra are expected to come in two versions: one with Exynos 2400 chip and the other with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. If the Galaxy S24 gets satellite connectivity, even the Exynos 2400 must have the feature enabled on the hardware level. Samsung developed its two-way satellite connectivity for Exynos chips, which could be used in the Galaxy S24. Right now, only Huawei phones have satellite connectivity in the Android ecosystem.
How is two-way satellite connectivity useful in smartphones?
Two-way satellite connectivity for emergency communications enables phones to connect to low-earth orbit satellites to send calls and messages when no mobile phone network is nearby. It allows users to be rescued or attended with medical care when they're lost in an area with no cellular connectivity. In the future, technologies could allow regular phones to have two-way satellite communication without additional hardware, and one such technology was tested on the Galaxy S22.