You are high in the mountains where a serious accident occurs. You have a phone in your pocket that can call for help. After unlocking the screen, however, you see the message: “No payment. Have a nice dying.”
We are on the verge of a telecommunications revolution. Satellite connectivity – previously reserved for expensive, specialized equipment – is beginning to find its way to ordinary smartphones.
iPhone 14 or Huawei Mate 50 Pro already allow you to make contact with emergency services from places where the range of mobile networks or Wi-Fi does not reach. According to leaks, a similar function is to go to the Samsung Galaxy S23, and in the near future, probably also to many other smartphones.
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And everything’s great, right? We are talking about a function that has a chance to save thousands of people every year who would otherwise not have a chance to call for help. There is only one hitch.
Satellite connectivity on smartphones will be charged extra
Apple recently posted an exhaustive one on its website article regarding satellite connectivity in smartphones. Under the article, a note was placed that the ability to contact emergency services “will be available for free for two years from the moment of activation of the iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max”.
So it seems that in 2024 satellite communication will become paid. The only question is in what form. Will it require pre-payment of the subscription? Or maybe the fee will be charged only for the message sent? The second option would probably be more beneficial for users, but not necessarily for Apple.
On the other hand, we are talking about an unprecedented situation, because as humanity we are not used to paying for a cry for help. You may not pay your mobile plan for months and have a six-figure debt with your operator, but you can call 112 from your phone anyway. Even if there is no SIM card in it at all.
It was the same way back in the days when cell phones didn’t exist. Contact with the emergency services from telephone booths has been free since time immemorial. Satellite connectivity is a game changer that has been around for decades.
When will the first iPhone user die just because he didn’t pay the subscription?
Apple has been investing in life-saving technologies for years. Tim Cook loves to build marketing on people who Apple Watch itself called for help after detecting a fall. They are even invited to press conferences during which new generations are presented.
Until now, such solutions were available to all users. Meanwhile, in the case of satellite connectivity, Apple is already preparing customers for additional fees. And this is already treading on thin ice.
It’s not hard to imagine a media report of a man stranded high in the mountains, but his iPhone wouldn’t let him call for help due to the lack of service. “You haven’t paid, so die.”
It is worth noting that in the case of specialized satellite phones, a subscription for services is standard. So far, however, they have been addressed to professionals aware of the threat. The iPhone and competing smartphones, on the other hand, are aimed at the masses.
Not every bread eater, going to the forest, accepts the possibility that he may be attacked by a wild animal. Will smartphone makers let such people die?
Well, I guess we can only hope that payments for satellite communications will be resolved in such a way that such situations do not occur.
Miron Nurski, managing editor of Komórkomania
Source: Komórkomania.pl – aktualności ze świata smartfonów i tabletów by komorkomania.pl.
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