Bullitt Group, popular for its rugged CAT phones, already confirmed in September that it will launch the first smartphone to include a two-way satellite messaging capability. Today, the company has confirmed that it has partnered with MediaTek for the phone.
Bullitt said that it has worked with MediaTek for over the last 18 months to enable the addition of direct to satellite communication in Bullitt designed 5G smartphones.
The company added that it is the first to use MediaTek’s 3GPP NTN (Non-Terrestrial Network) chipset. These phones will use Dimensity 930 SoC. It has used proprietary software and service components that have been developed in parallel to provide the OTT satellite messaging service.
The software in the phone is intelligent and switches to the satellite link only when no cellular or Wi-Fi connection is available. The service integrates with the user’s existing contacts to provide a seamless experience when using the satellite link to communicate with a phone on a cellular network.
“The time to initially connect to the satellite and send a message is around 10 seconds,” said the company.
The Bullitt phone and OTT satellite service will be available in the first quarter of 2023, and it will feature a satellite SOS feature that will be free for the first 12 months. The smartphones will be showcased at the CES 2023 in January.
Regarding the announcement, Richard Wharton, Co-founder at Bullitt Group, said:
We have known for a long time that the answer was in satellite, but an ‘invisible’ and seamless integration into a smartphone creates enormous technical challenges. MediaTek and Bullitt share a pioneering spirit and a history of innovation so now, nearly two years into our relationship, we jointly stand at the forefront of a new era in telecommunications and the quickest, simplest way for our carrier channel partners to offer total peace of mind to their customers.
JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Communications Business Unit at MediaTek, added:
This relationship carries on our long-standing history of innovation and leadership in the formulation of the 3GPP NTN standard, which combines cellular and satellite connectivity in the same device. In addition to the most recent mobile technology and the most sophisticated, highest-performing cellular connectivity features we have been working on, the 3GPP NTN effort advocates allowing device manufacturers access to satellite connectivity. We are very proud of having created the two-way satellite messaging technology used in this first commercially available phone and for being the pioneers in creating the ecosystem based on 3GPP NTN standards for satellite communication.