iPhone 14 Satellite connectivity: Will India miss out on this feature? Know all about it
The iPhone 14 series is rumored to carry satellite connectivity feature in it. But with strict regulation around satellite phones, can it lead to a delayed launch in India? Find out
Earlier this week, a new leak surfaced that claimed that the iPhone 14 might be equipped with satellite connectivity feature within it. The satellite connectivity feature essentially allows a phone to connect via satellites orbiting around the Earth instead of mobile towers. This provides the device with near universal coverage and even in the remotest locations where mobile towers do not exist, it can be used to communicate. While it all sounds great, there is a little problem with it. India has a restriction on the usage of satellite phones and if a person wants to use it, they will have to get clearance from multiple authorities. So, can this one feature result in the iPhone 14 not launching or delaying its launch in India? Read on to find out.
iPhone 14 satellite connectivity problem
We first need to understand what the government says about satellite phones. According to the Department of Telecommunications' website:
“Satellite phones are permitted:-
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(i) With specific permission/ NOC from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India; or
(ii) As provisioned by M/s BSNL in accordance with license granted to M/s BSNL for provision and operation of satellite based service using Gateway installed in India.”
So, despite the restrictions, by taking permission from required authorities, using these devices are allowed. The reason why the government does not allow satellite phones is due to its encryption model and there is a chance it can be used for illegal operations.
And while permissions are granted on a case-by-case basis, it might be a little difficult for Apple to get the permission for a mass-manufactured device like the iPhone 14.
But there are a few things we need to consider. First, Ming-Chi Kuo, a famous Apple tipster, was the one who first tweeted about this feature but it was never revealed exactly how it will work in the long run. It was stated that initially the service will be text-message only, but later on calling facility can also be provided. And similarly we do not know if the facility will be provided by Apple directly via a third party or through mobile network providers operating in the country.
With a lot in the dark, it is difficult to gauge exactly how Apple might tackle this challenge in India. However, a similar situation happened when the Apple Watch 7 series was launched in India without fast charging capabilities. The company put a hardware limitation to the products being shipped to India, and it was assumed at the time that the reason was due to regulatory compliance.
So, even in the worst case scenario that Apple does face regulatory issues, it can simply ship the device with satellite connectivity disabled. Or, in the best case scenario, due to the limited use case (text messaging), the government might give iPhone 14 a permission to enable the feature in India. For now, we do not know much and these details will only be known after the launch of the Apple smartphone.