MediaTek is bringing satellite connectivity to Android
Ever since Apple introduced emergency satellite connectivity with the iPhone 14, Android chip manufacturers like Qualcomm and Samsung have been racing to develop their own versions. Now, MediaTek has entered the game with its new MT6825 chip, which promises to bring two-way satellite messaging to Android devices using non-terrestrial networks that meet the open R17 NTN standard.
Unlike Apple’s solution, which relies on proprietary technology, the MediaTek 6825 chip can link any device to satellites, leaving the implementation of the service up to the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). For instance, Bullitt, a British telecommunications brand, has partnered with MediaTek to integrate the MT6825 chip into its Bullitt Satellite Connect platform, enabling satellite communication on smartphones such as the Motorola Defy 2 and the CAT S75.
In terms of specs, the Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 are essentially the same phones with different names. Both boast a 6.6-inch 120Hz FHD+ display with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus, Mil-Spec 810H certification, IP68 and IP69K ratings, MediaTek Dimensity 930 chipset, a 5,000 mAh battery, 15W charging, a 50MP + 8MP (wide) + 2MP (macro) rear camera setup, and an 8MP selfie shooter.
“Our solution can basically be added to any form of 5G or 4G phone, from entry-level all the way to flagship,” said Finbarr Moynihan, vice president of corporate marketing at MediaTek.
Advantages and limitations of using this technology
One of the major advantages of the MediaTek 6825 chip is that it uses the 3GPP Release 17 mobile broadband standard, which enables low-bitrate connections between ground devices and geostationary satellite networks already in orbit. This allows phones to send texts and short bursts of data through satellites, without the need to point their phones up in the sky. However, since geostationary satellites orbit the Earth at a distance of over 23,000 miles, text messages will take longer to relay back and forth.