Mobile satellite communication has started to roll out. Honestly speaking, will this technology become mainstream?

Do you think this technology is useful?

Will Mobile Satellite Communication Become Mainstream?

The question of whether mobile satellite communication technology will become mainstream is complex, involving multiple factors.

Firstly, mobile satellite communication technology is currently in the development stage and faces several technical bottlenecks and challenges. For instance, satellite signal transmission is affected by factors such as weather, geographical location, and time, leading to potential signal instability or weakness. Moreover, satellite communication requires substantial investment in infrastructure, including satellites and ground receiving stations, which represents a significant expense. Therefore, in terms of technological maturity and infrastructure development, further progress and improvement are needed for mobile satellite communication technology.

Secondly, the application scenarios of mobile satellite communication technology are somewhat limited. Although satellite communication can provide services in remote areas or places beyond the reach of terrestrial communication networks, in urban and plain areas where ground communication networks are more developed and stable, the application scenarios for mobile satellite communication are relatively limited. Additionally, satellite communication services incur certain costs, which may represent a burden for ordinary consumers.

Furthermore, mobile satellite communication technology also faces legal and regulatory issues. For example, satellite communication involves cross-national telecommunications, requiring adherence to the regulations of the International Telecommunication Union. Additionally, national governments may also regulate and manage satellite communication, restricting its application and development.

Although there are currently some problems with mobile satellite communication technology, it also holds considerable potential. With continuous advancements in technology and ongoing improvements in infrastructure, the application scenarios and stability of mobile satellite communication technology are expected to enhance. Moreover, as the demand for communication continues to grow, especially in remote areas and maritime scenarios, there will likely be substantial market demand for mobile satellite communication technology.

Therefore, in the long run, mobile satellite communication technology may become a part of mainstream communication technology, but the specific timeline and course of development require further observation and waiting.

Current satellite communication is purely a gimmick to maintain high selling prices.

Yes, but the actual implementation may be quite different from what it is now. The capacity of geostationary satellites is not very large, so in the end, we still need to rely on high-bandwidth low-earth orbit satellites.

Meaningful Satellite Communication Relies on Data Connectivity Without Ground Stations

In reality, satellite communication that can function with data connectivity without relying on ground stations may be the most meaningful.

Moreover, generally speaking, ordinary smartphones should be able to access satellite-based internet communication without the need for special hardware to make it accessible to a broader audience.

Elon Musk recently showcased his SpaceX’s new system, where ordinary smartphone data connectivity was only at 7Mbps. Quite a difference.

As for companies like Huawei, let’s not boast about our devices and telecom services when they can only be used with specific telecom packages and require specific equipment. What about users of other mobile carriers like China Mobile or China Unicom? Even if we don’t consider that, receiving the signal requires specific equipment, so how do we communicate with users who don’t have that equipment?

Is 5G Not Living Up to Its Hype?

Back in 2019, there was a similar question about 5G, and it was hyped up tremendously on platforms like Zhihu, as if the world would drastically change once 5G was launched. I remember commenting on that question, stating that there were no specific consumer applications for 5G, and even with faster network speeds, it wouldn’t matter because 4G already met current needs. I received a lot of criticism at that time.

Fast forward almost five years, the number of 5G deployments has increased significantly, but the specific use cases remain unchanged from the 4G era. There is virtually no fundamental difference in using 5G or 4G on the consumer side. Many predicted applications like VR, AR, and autonomous driving haven’t become mainstream.


First, the technology isn’t there yet, primarily on the application side. Technical limitations hinder the development of practical use cases, making them unsuitable for commercialization.

Second, cost plays a crucial role. Innovation comes at a price, and how many consumers are willing to pay for feature innovations on the application side? 5G has essentially shifted the cost burden onto consumers, with telecom companies convincing many to switch to 5G plans. New SIM cards and plans don’t specify whether the included data is 5G or 4G.

Take satellite communication, for example. Currently, there are only two providers offering satellite communication services: Huawei and Honor. Huawei’s direct satellite connection costs 10 RMB per month, and the cheapest voice package is 200 RMB per month, including 50 minutes of talk time. Honor’s prices should be similar. The prerequisite for “optional but essential” is that most people can afford it.

Third, and most importantly, consumer market demand. Whether a feature becomes mainstream heavily relies on market demand. There’s a significant market demand for safe and reliable autonomous driving and well-experienced VR and AR. However, satellite communication doesn’t have this level of demand.

The need for communication in areas completely devoid of signal and with a sense of urgency is incredibly rare. Smartphones are universally used as consumer devices. Adding a costly and niche feature to a consumer-grade device is unexpected. It is crucial for those in dire need, but this group is exceedingly small, making it highly unlikely for satellite communication to become mainstream.

Satellite Communication for Mobile Phones: Integration vs. Adaptation

There are two concepts in mobile satellite communication. The first concept involves integrating satellite communication capabilities directly into mobile phones, such as the ability to send messages or make calls using WeChat in China or the messaging feature on Apple iPhones.

The second concept is using satellites as part of a high-altitude base station infrastructure to enable existing mobile phones to make calls via applications like WeChat.

Elon Musk’s Starlink has already implemented the latter approach. It allows mobile phones to establish direct communication with satellites using LTE frequencies without the need to replace the phone, thus connecting to the traditional telephone network.

It’s difficult to judge which of these two solutions is superior at the moment. However, from a mass adoption perspective, making satellites compatible with the vast number of existing mobile phones appears more feasible than requiring phones to adapt to specific satellites.

From an industry perspective, creating a new ecosystem where everyone switches to new phones might be the ideal scenario.

But if the goal is to provide practical and affordable solutions to users, fostering the adoption of new technology, and offering better services, the second approach seems to be the better choice.

In 2024, Starlink is set to launch its LTE satellites. Soon, regions with coverage will be able to use mobile phones directly. I can’t think of any particular advantages for satellite functionality that’s limited to one or two specific phone models.

Of course, for areas without coverage, the choice may be limited, just like how eSIM cards are unavailable in mainland China.

Returning to the topic, when considering which technology to embrace or which company’s proposal to follow, such as the satellite launched by China Telecom, will it lead to a flourishing industry ecosystem? Does it have a future?

I believe it might be more beneficial to consider who can better adapt to existing mobile phone technology and enable widespread use of satellite communication.

Some may argue that China’s network coverage is already extensive, rendering satellite reinforcement unnecessary. So, why develop satellite communication technology for extreme situations and hype it as indispensable?

It seems that self-interest may be at play. People prioritize their wallets and should avoid paying for unnecessary demands. In the 3G era, China Mobile, or the Chinese people, already made a significant investment. With 5G, they made an even bigger one.

Money is hard to come by, so protect your wallet.

After entering a certain factory, he became mainstream, something he had never used before in his entire life before he arrived.

I’m curious to see how a certain competitor has developed their own technology.

People are currently feeling very conflicted. The shining light of humanity with aspirations for Mars has created a significant constellation. However, a certain slippery pseudo-company has also entered the scene to disrupt things. Is this technology really good or not? It’s quite contradictory.

Victory in the Myanmar Conflict: Lessons Learned

The commanding general leading the way with a significant advantage is Peng Dejun, the cousin of Peng Dashun, serving as the overall commander of the Allied Forces in the military.

Since launching the “Anti-Telecom Fraud Operation” on October 27th, the Gureng Allied Forces have been performing remarkably well, achieving consecutive victories and dominating all fronts. Wherever the Gureng Allied Forces have pointed their spearhead, they have been unbeatable in battle and unstoppable in their offensives.

This victory came even more easily than anticipated, with the remnants of the Burmese army trapped outside the Old Street, Mianxiangou, and South Tianmen surrendering en masse. This marks the greatest victory by a Chinese force in the tumultuous conflicts of northern Myanmar in over 60 years, the last one being when Li Mi led remnants of the Nationalist Army to sweep across northern Myanmar.

The entire campaign lasted only 71 days, during which the Gureng Allied Forces reclaimed 2,700 square kilometers of territory in the Gureng region alone. In comparison, the Wagner Group took 224 days to capture 42 square kilometers of Bakhmut in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In the Israel-Palestine conflict, despite Israel deploying a 520,000-strong army and fighting for 87 days, they have yet to gain any additional territory within the 365-square-kilometer Gaza Strip.

In today’s three major battlegrounds, the Gureng Allied Forces have been the most swift and decisive in the northern Myanmar theater.

There are several key factors contributing to the success of the Allied Forces, one of which is the use of satellite communication-equipped smartphones. This technology allows for extensive coordination in military operations, resulting in a substantial information advantage.

This overwhelming information advantage can provide crucial tactical superiority minutes before decisions need to be made. For instance, during the Battle of Qing Shui River, when the Burmese army conducted an 80-man airborne operation, news of the operation was reported on smartphones almost immediately upon the planes taking off. This allowed the Allied Forces to accurately predict the landing location, resulting in 73 enemy casualties, 4 taken as prisoners, and 3 escaping, with zero casualties on their own side.

In more general scenarios, satellite communication proves to be a lifeline, ensuring communication is maintained for a lifetime, particularly in emergencies and disaster situations.

The effectiveness depends on whether a certain manufacturer has implemented it.

Hi Jun is mocking Xiaomi again. Lei Jun invested in domestic commercial aerospace a few years ago. It’s no secret that domestic smartphone manufacturers were a year late in adopting satellite communication technology, which can’t be attributed to their lack of technical capability. The reasons for this are self-evident.

Satellite Communication as a Marginal Feature for Phones

It’s not a necessity for now, but satellite communication might evolve into an essential feature for smartphones in the future.

First, let’s establish a premise: China’s communication infrastructure is far ahead. Here’s some data from 2021:

98% of administrative villages have fiber optic connectivity. 98% coverage of 4G networks. Over 700,000 5G base stations built. 85% of global 5G users are in China.

So, in China at least, the real demand for mobile satellite communication is primarily for:

  1. The less than 2% of the population without access to conventional networks.
  2. Travelers heading into remote areas (a negligible number).

Furthermore, even for these “niche” groups, their satellite communication needs are likely limited to occasional contacts or emergencies. Current satellite technology can adequately support these “low-bandwidth” requirements.

Therefore, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling need to invest heavily in launching more satellites just to enable a small number of people to play games or stream videos.

Satellite Communication: A Niche Feature with Potential

My answer is that it won’t become mainstream and won’t be used by the vast majority of people. However, this doesn’t mean people won’t be curious and won’t give it a try. It can be a valuable tool for outdoor enthusiasts, some specialized desert or mountain climbers, and a potential lifesaver in remote areas with no signal coverage. It could also become the preferred choice when purchasing a phone in such scenarios.

This feature is like an insurance policy in our lives, ready to provide assistance when needed. Just like emergency numbers 110, 119, and 120; you might never dial them, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need them. Perhaps one day, when you encounter difficulties, danger, or a health crisis, you’ll require that lifeline. However, in the event of an earthquake or when you venture into signal-less areas, making an emergency call can be challenging without signal coverage.

So, I support smartphone manufacturers incorporating satellite communication. After Huawei, Honor is planning to introduce this feature, and they’ve expressed their willingness to share this technology with other companies. This means making satellite calls, sending messages, or communicating via satellite signals could become a reality.

The next challenge is whether satellite connectivity can provide internet access and establish more efficient and stable connections. This is crucial and a problem that satellite communication development must inevitably address to truly help us in critical situations.

I watched a video discussing how the telecommunications sector aimed to create a mass-market satellite terminal product rather than early satellite phones, which were limited to basic phone calls and simple interactions. When used in smartphones, satellite communication can offer more value and explore greater possibilities. As a result, the telecommunications industry approached smartphone manufacturers for collaboration, with Huawei being the first to take on the project successfully, becoming the pioneer in using this technology.

Honor and OPPO are also gearing up to introduce satellite communication. If mainstream smartphones come equipped with these features, allowing satellite calls and messaging, it would undoubtedly benefit everyone. As a user, regardless of its practicality or mainstream status, I would be happy to have it, and its absence wouldn’t make me feel hopeless. That’s Huawei’s attitude towards satellite communication. They won’t force you to have it.

However, it could become a point of comparison in the smartphone market, potentially adding value to new phones. So, there’s no clear distinction between mainstream and non-mainstream here. Once it’s available, many will consider having it. What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to follow me, entrepreneur Li Meng, for further discussion.

The popularization of satellite communication is quite promising, and it is a meaningful technology with practical applications in special scenarios. I believe that, after a round of competition among domestic smartphone manufacturers, this type of mobile communication technology will become mainstream in the current stage. However, what I am looking forward to more is the widespread adoption of low-earth orbit, high-bandwidth satellite communication technology. Currently, Huawei’s satellite communication technology belongs to high-earth orbit, low-bandwidth communication, with limited support for communication scenarios due to its narrow bandwidth. If we could have a satellite communication system like Starlink with high bandwidth capacity integrated into smartphones, it would undoubtedly open up impressive possibilities.

This thing is like a seatbelt, similar to the 119 emergency phone number. Don’t think too much about it, useless fellows. Nobody wants to use it, but it must be there. Don’t say there’s no need for it; even if it’s not needed, under the conditions allowed by this technology, all devices must be equipped with satellite communication capabilities, even if it’s enforced.

Since around 2015 or 2016, smartphone manufacturers have been pushing the envelope when it comes to photography. They have been improving camera technology, adding dual lenses, enhancing portrait mode capabilities, increasing pixel counts, optimizing for DXO scores, implementing image stabilization, and even diving into computational photography. Now, in 2023, who are the photographers using smartphones as a replacement for traditional cameras?

Similarly, how many more years will it be before long-distance ocean voyages, desert crossings, exploration of remote wilderness areas, are done without the need for satellite phones?

When all the basic hardware and features are in place, this feature falls into the category of being unnecessary but adding extra points.

If this feature is a major selling point, while other commonly used hardware and features are being cut off in various ways… not much to comment on…

Satellite Communication

Satellite calls

Are two different things

Creating Hype for Dad’s Invention

Dad hasn’t finished yet; it’s all just a gimmick.

But when Dad finally unveils it, it will be a groundbreaking innovation.

We can talk about it for an hour straight, spitting out buzzwords, and then show some VCR clips.

If Dad’s in a good mood, he might even send a technical representative (Lei Mi wishes he could knock a few heads right there).

Next, we’ll start talking with tears in our eyes, sharing the heart-wrenching journey.

We’ll also talk about how we got sabotaged by competitors.

For the next six months, Weibo will update “new technology” user feedback every other day, non-stop for six months.

Here, we’ll trend every three days, piggybacking on trends every other day.

Explaining one technical point every day.

You can imagine the excitement, multiplied by ten, just like when we adopted the earthquake prevention technology from the Institute of Geology back then.