Telus, TerreStar, and Skylo Successfully Trial Satellite Connectivity for Smartphones, IoT Devices


Canadian operator Telus and TerreStar Solutions, operating under the Strigo brand, have successfully conducted voice calls using satellite connectivity. Further, in partnership with Skylo, Telus has also been able to send text messages between smartphones and connect to Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With this achievement, Telus, TerreStar, and Skylo claim to have demonstrated Canada’s first two-way communication between smartphones and satellites.

Skylo and TerreStar Partnership
Skylo and TerreStar announced last month that they were collaborating on non-terrestrial network (NTN) 5G services. This partnership paves the way for the introduction of direct-to-device satellite communication for Canadians.

Benefits Provided by the Technology
The joint statement noted that in the future, this technology could fill existing gaps in mobile networks and transform the world. Universal mobile-to-satellite and IoT-to-Satellite connectivity can ensure that customers in remote areas, such as hikers or campers, have mobile access no matter where they are.

It can provide backup connectivity in emergency services, improve employee safety, reduce costs for industries that require remote field work and monitoring, enable uninterrupted fleet tracking, and deliver real-time data visibility, among other benefits.

Collaboration and Technology Integration
The trial, which took place in October, combined the technology platform of non-terrestrial network (NTN) service provider Skylo, TerreStar’s spectrum and service platform, and Telus’s expertise in building networks. All of these resulted in the direct connections using TerreStar’s existing geostationary satellite.

The technology reportedly utilises dedicated satellite spectrum in areas where traditional mobile coverage is unavailable, enabling two-way texting between smartphones, voice calling, and connections to IoT devices.

Next-Generation Smartphones
Telus says that as chipset manufacturers are working to equip the next generation of smartphones with 5G satellite capabilities, the company is exploring these solutions with the hope of introducing these devices to customers in 2024. “This is a bold step toward a future without mobile no-coverage zones, one where all Canadians can feel safe and connected,” the release said.