November 11, 2022: -On Tuesday, Apple said it is ready to pay $450 million to a U.S. firm to enable its recent crisis satellite texting feature.
Much of that money will go to Globalstar; Apple stated that a Louisiana-based group operates the satellites that make the feature work.
Apple is not ready to take an equity stake in the firm but is committing to spend money on equipment and the service’s operations. The funds will pay for satellites and equip ground stations with a recent antenna designed by Apple.
Suppose users are out of range of a cellular tower, like in a remote area while camping. In that case, they can still connect to emergency services is pointing their phone into the sky and clicking on one of 24 Globalstar satellites in low Earth orbit. In September, Apple stated Emergency SOS with Satellite as a banner feature on the recent iPhone 14 models. It will launch through an iPhone software update.
Thursday’s announcement underscores the high costs of operating the service.
The feature is free for both years, but Apple has left the possibility of charging for it after that. Apple said the service is not entirely automated and requires human-staffed call centers. More than 300 Globalstar employees will work on the service.
It’s an example of Apple highlighting its spending on U.S. suppliers. Apple is pointing out that many of the parts in its devices come from the U.S., even after the final assembly is done almost entirely in China.
Apple’s payment to Globalstar will become from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, money the firm operates to support the suppliers based in the U.S.
Since the Advanced Manufacturing Fund was made in 2017, it has paid $450 million to Corning for iPhone glass production, $390 million to Finisar to outfit a factory to create laser components needed for FaceID, $100 million to XPO Logistics, and $10 million to Copan Diagnostics for Coronavirus test kit parts.