Will Apple charge iPhone users to send SMS via satellite?

Apple has added satellite capabilities to iPhone 14 models in 2022 to enable a new feature called Emergency SOS via satellite, which allows users to contact emergency services in areas with no cell service. At the time, the company said customers could try the service for free for two years – but the trial period was later extended to 2025.

Now with iOS 18, iPhone users can send SMS text messages via satellite. But will Apple keep this service free forever?

Emergency SOS via satellite

The emergency SOS satellite service has been described as a “game changer” by search and rescue teams, and has been credited with a number of helicopter rescues. This feature has already proven its ability to save lives since its launch, and it continues to do so.

When the user triggers Emergency SOS, the iPhone asks a few questions about the situation until it contacts the satellites – which may take a few minutes. Then, all this information is sent to relay centers where specialists request help on behalf of the user. The entire text can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts.

Last year, the company expanded the iPhone’s satellite capabilities with a new Roadside Assistance feature, which allows users to contact roadside assistance providers like AAA and Verizon in the US via satellite when cellular connectivity is not available. It also announced that those who bought the iPhone 14 will get a free additional year of satellite calling.

Since these features have already proven to be “life-saving,” many people have debated whether Apple would actually charge for them as it first said — since doing so could hurt the company’s image if users had the opportunity to save them but couldn’t because They did not pay for the emergency SOS service via satellite.

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Will Apple charge for its satellite features?

However, iOS 18 may change everything. This is because the new version of the iPhone operating system introduces the ability to send SMS text messages to anyone using satellite communication when Wi-Fi or cellular is not available. The feature doesn’t seem to be working in the first beta, and Apple hasn’t said a word about pricing yet.

The problem is that satellite services are expensive. Apple invested $450 million in infrastructure To support emergency SOS via satellite. Globalstar, Apple’s satellite communications partner, charges about $12 a month to provide basic emergency services on its own devices. The subscription becomes more expensive for those who want to send unlimited text messages.

With that in mind, I see two possibilities: Apple could charge a subscription fee for all satellite-based features as originally planned, or it could charge specifically to allow iPhone users to send SMS text messages via satellite — which would be a compromise between Get money to pay. for infrastructure and not act like the bad guy by limiting critical features.

In an ideal world, all of these features would be free forever, but Apple is also a services company. For example, it could offer the iPhone’s satellite features as part of an Apple One bundle, which could ultimately incentivize more people to pay for all of Apple’s services at once.

How much are you willing to pay to use satellite features on your iPhone? Let us know in the comments below.

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