Recently, Bullitt unveiled two new devices to provide its satellite-to-mobile messaging service — the Motorola Defy 2 rugged Android smartphone and the Motorola Defy satellite link, a Bluetooth device that provides satellite connectivity to any smartphone.
For outdoor adventurers, Motorola built the Defy 2 smartphone. It can withstand drops and tough climatic conditions. It has a small design but an extra-large battery.
The Motorola Defy satellite link, a dongle gadget, is particularly intriguing because it enables Bluetooth connections to the satellite from any Android or iOS smartphone.
Many portions of the United States and other countries lack cellular coverage, according to Richard Wharton, co-founder of the Bullitt Group. He said that users may use the dongle to connect to a satellite in uncovered areas by placing it on their key fob or in the glove box of their automobile.
The dongle also serves as a GPS tracker and SOS messenger. For emergency GPS tracking services, Bullitt will face off against Garmin in this market.
If neither Wi-Fi nor cellular service is available, the Motorola devices running the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app will attempt a connection via the satellite.
The CAT S75 smartphone, the first device Bullitt launched, is joined by the two additional devices running Bullitt’s software.
The Bullitt Group is approaching the device-centric aspect of the satellite-to-mobile dilemma. Bullitt grants licenses for the use of its Satellite Messenger software on a range of OEMs’ products.
Bullitt is collaborating with existing geosynchronous (GEO) constellations to offer a two-way messaging service right now, while other companies in the satellite-to-mobile ecosystem are concentrating on low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations. The Motorola devices will communicate with the Echostar and Inmarsat GEO satellites.
Wharton stated that during 2023, the two-way messaging service will be implemented in a number of significant geographic areas. Towards the end of March, we’ll have all of Europe; in Q2, we’ll have North America and South America. The majority of the world should have satellite communications by the end of the year, with the exception of China, Russia, and other markets.
Wharton claimed that whether the service employs an LEO constellation or a GEO constellation, the user’s text messaging experience is the same in both cases. As users may already connect through the line of sight with an LEO satellite without having to move their device around, GEO may even be slightly better than LEO at this time.
However, in the future, Bullitt will want to adopt 5G, which calls for LEO.
“For us to deliver better data and voice that’s going to require 5G NR with Release 18, likely in the next two to three years,” he said. “To deliver those data speeds, we’re going to need an LEO constellation to do it.” It’s already collaborating with Echostar on that.
Bullitt uses Skylo for its core network technology. Skylo manages the connections to the devices over existing licensed GEO satellite constellations.
In November 2022, Bullitt said it was using MediaTek’s 3GPP Non-Terrestrial Network chipset.
“We successfully worked with Bullitt, integrating our 3GPP NTN technology and chipset into the world’s first commercially available devices with two-way satellite messaging,” stated J.C. Hsu, general manager of MediaTek’s wireless communications business unit.
According to Wharton, satellite technology is clearly required to fill in any gaps in cellular service. He said that 70% of Canada’s landmass and 30% of the United States’ landmass are both uninhabitable. It’s challenging to spread out more cell towers. The demand for cellular in-fill is unquestionably substantial. The only practical method to achieve that, he claimed, is by satellite.