MediaTek Satellite Connectivity Technology at MWC 2023
MediaTek also launched the first smartphones with satellite connectivity, and they will launch more devices in the coming months. At the event, they also shared a sneak peek of its next-generation 5G New Radio NTN (NR-NTN) technology for the next wave of satellite-enabled devices.
Satellite networks provide a dependable means for devices to interact in outlying areas, attempting to fill in the gaps in mobile coverage.
Consumers can stay connected with satellite-enabled smartphones while they are out on a hike, driving in remote areas, on a boat, or in other circumstances where there has traditionally been no connectivity; this not only gives users peace of mind but also makes it possible for them to call for help in an emergency.
Smartphones now provide the largest market opportunity for 3GPP NTN technology, even though satellite connectivity is becoming more and more popular in IoT applications including forestry, agriculture, and logistics. In the upcoming years, satellite communications technology will also see significant growth in the automobile sector.
“Two-way satellite communications on smartphones and other devices will usher us into a new era of connectivity and open up new possibilities across many different verticals,” said JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President, and General Manager of MediaTek’s wireless communications business unit. “Our standalone MT6825 chipsets, which are based on the 3GPP NTN open standard, can be integrated into any flagship smartphone to deliver a seamless satellite connectivity experience.”
MediaTek’s satellite communications portfolio will focus on IoT-NTN and NR-NTN technologies based on the 3GPP 5G standard for Release 17 (R17) in the upcoming years. IoT-NTN is best for messaging since it is made for connections with low data rates, whereas NR-NTN supports larger data rates that can enable applications like video calls.
Because satellite networks can currently only handle IoT-NTN on a large scale, the initial wave of satellite-enabled smartphones and other devices powered by MediaTek will be built for two-way satellite messaging services.
In addition, Bullitt and MediaTek are collaborating to deliver the first 3GPP NTN devices to market, using the MT6825 chipset to connect to the Bullitt Satellite Connect platform.
This includes the Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 smartphones as well as the Motorola Defy Satellite Link, a portable and lightweight Bluetooth accessory that enables Android and iOS devices to connect to the Bullitt Satellite Connect platform.
Users of the Bullitt Satellite Connect service will get access to two-way satellite messaging, location sharing, and emergency SOS in more places around the world.
Devices will be able to handle services with greater data rates, such as navigation and real-time communication, thanks to MediaTek’s upcoming NR-NTN chipset. The ability of smartphones, IoT devices, and automobiles to benefit from dependable connectivity anywhere is made possible by the expansion of satellite networks’ capacity for NR-NTN during the upcoming years.
The MediaTek IoT-NTN solutions are standalone chipsets that can be added to any 4G or 5G device, making it simple for brands to incorporate two-way satellite communications into smartphones and other devices. Unlike competing solutions, which are based on proprietary solutions, the chipsets use the open 3GPP R17 NTN standard.
The benefit of the standard for OEMs is that once a product has received 3GPP R17 IoT-NTN certification, it may be utilized on any network that complies with the standard.
Moreover, mobile network operators can cooperate with service providers to offer roaming services or construct satellite networks that support the standard.
MT6825 allows smartphones to automatically receive messages from satellites, providing a more seamless experience than competitors, which need users to actively check for messages. The chipset has low system requirements, is very power efficient, resulting in longer battery life, and is designed in a highly integrated, reducing time to market.
Being one of the primary contributors to the 3GPP NTN standards and a key partner in the development of 5G NTN solutions, MediaTek has long been a key participant in expanding satellite connection innovation.