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Samsung unveiled a preview of the satellite technology. The new service comes after Apple, Samsung’s main rival in the smartphone market, introduced a satellite-powered emergency messaging service for iPhones.

According to Samsung, the technology is based on the latest 3GPP release of the 5G networking standard, finalized last year. This new iteration of the 5G standard enables satellite communications, including power efficiency improvements and other new features.

Samsung conducted an internal test of the new technology on their Exynos Modem 5300 chip, designed primarily for connecting handsets to standard 5G networks.

Samsung can send text messages, images, and videos over satellite connections

Min Goo Kim, executive vice president of communication processor development at Samsung, stated, “Samsung aims to take the lead in advancing hybrid terrestrial-NTN communications ecosystems around the world in preparation for the arrival of 6G.”

Samsung plans to integrate this technology into future iterations of its Exynos Modem chip series, which is manufactured by its foundry business and currently ships with a subset of its Galaxy smartphones.

The Exynos Modem chip contains multiple components, including a modem and an RF frontend, responsible for turning radio signals into electronic data. There is also a module for optimizing power usage.

No dedicated satellite antenna needed

Samsung’s satellite connectivity technology will use NB-IoT NTN, eliminating the need for a separate antenna chip and making it easier for other phone makers to implement the feature. The Exynos Modem chips are used in Samsung’s devices and sold to other companies.

Google’s latest Pixel smartphones feature the Exynos Modem 5300 chip, which Samsung used for satellite connectivity simulation. Qualcomm has also introduced satellite connectivity technology using Iridium Communications’ satellite constellation, which is expected to be available in the second half of 2023.

Tip: Bullitt Satellite Connect makes smartphones reachable via satellite