hook up your smartphone connectivity to a satellite. That's what Yahsat has plans for. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Connect your smartphone to a satellite?

The UAE satellite services company Yahsat has launched a ‘direct-2-device’ strategy that allows for just that. Not just smartphones, even IoT (internet of things) devices can be thus connected using space-tech regardless of location.

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In phase one, the company plans to offer voice and messaging capabilities this year. And then extend that to texting and IoT capabilities on smartphones in 2025, using the Yahsat Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, expected to be launched later this year.

A second phase, ‘Project BlueStar’, will enable full direct-to-device connectivity through a scalable satellite network.

With D2D connectivity more people than ever before, especially in remote areas, will be able to gain access to a whole host of services that will transform lives.

- Ali Al Hashemi of Yahsat

The two-phase rollout covers all three main applications: voice, texting and data. (Yahsat will offer a preview of its D2D portfolio at the Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona later this month.)

“We are excited to launch our D2D strategy to revolutionize our industry by providing billions of people, organizations and businesses across various sectors with seamless, reliable and efficient access to connectivity," said Ali Al Hashemi, Group CEO.

"This strategy is a critical and significant part of Yahsat’s wider growth strategy. We developed our D2D strategy – Project SKY, by carefully examining our strengths and capabilities and leveraging our expertise to capitalize on evolving market conditions.”

Inbuilt satellite hook ups

Satellite-linked features are showing up on mobiles. On the Apple 'iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15, or iPhone 15 Pro, you can connect your iPhone to a satellite to text emergency services', according to the US company.

With the number of satellites out there already, such linking up could yet become a standard feature.

For Yahsat, the D2D possibility is an ;inspiring moment for us, especially since we are also beginning a new chapter in our journey through the potential merger with Bayanat to create a global AI-powered SpaceTech champion', said Al Hashemi.

Yahsat’s five satellites reach more than 80 per cent of the world’s population. Based out of Abu Dhabi, Yahsat provides C, Ku, Ka and L-band satellite communications solutions for land, maritime and aero platforms to consumers, governments and enterprises.

In 2020, Yahsat commenced construction of Thuraya 4, a next-gen telecommunications system for Thuraya, which is due to launch in 2024 and to enter service in 2025. Last year, construction started on two 'software-defined' telecommunication satellites, Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5, expected to be launched in 2027 and 2028.