Advancing universal connectivity in Canada with satellite technology

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TELUS and TerreStar Solutions, a Canadian company operating under the Strigo brand, have utilised satellite connectivity for voice calls. Additionally, in collaboration with Skylo, they have enabled text messaging between smartphones and connectivity to Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The development marks a step toward a future without mobile no-coverage zones, one where all Canadians can feel safe and connected.

“This groundbreaking trial demonstrates the power of satellite technology and advances TELUS’ mission to bring vital connectivity to every area of Canada,” said Darren Entwistle, a president and CEO, at TELUS. “This collaboration with TerreStar and Skylo lays the foundation for a world where everyone has access to potentially life-saving connectivity, and businesses and institutions can operate more sustainably and efficiently in remote regions. Through this innovative technology, we look forward to ensuring even more Canadians are able to connect with what matters most.”

In the future, the technology could fill existing gaps in mobile networks and try to change the world into one where universal mobile-to-satellite and IoT-to-satellite connectivity can:

  • Ensure customers in remote areas, such as hikers or campers, have mobile access no matter where they are;
  • Provide backup connectivity so that emergency services are never out of reach, even when natural disasters impact networks and damage cell towers; 
  • Improve employee safety and reduce costs for industries that require remote field work and monitoring of critical operations like forestry, energy, and scientific research;
  • Enable uninterrupted fleet vehicle tracking and management of supplies for businesses in the most remote areas;
  • Deliver real-time data visibility, including temperature, water, and site-specific information to farmers to improve decision-making and sustainability in remote agriculture.

As chipset manufacturers look to equip the next generation of smartphones with 5G satellite capabilities, TELUS is exploring these possibilities with hopes of introducing these devices to customers in 2024.

“This successful demonstration marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of global connectivity,” said Jacques Leduc, a president of TerreStar. “With the convergence of TerreStar, TELUS, and Skylo’s cutting-edge technologies, we’re ushering in an era of connectivity and value for Canadian customers. Together, we’re charting a course toward a future where no corner of Canada is left unconnected, promising safety and connectivity for all. This achievement reflects our unwavering commitment to a digitally inclusive Canada.”

“We are thrilled to partner with TELUS and TerreStar to bring direct satellite connectivity to customers in Canada,” said Tarun Gupta, a CPO and co-founder of Skylo. “We’ve been able to expand beyond smartphones – into wearables and low-cost, low-power, IoT devices. This revolutionary new service will ubiquitously transform lives and businesses in a way no other mode of connectivity has done before.”

The trial combined non-terrestrial-network (NTN) service provider Skylo’s technology platform, TerreStar’s spectrum and service platform that covers most of Canada’s geography, and TELUS’ expertise in building networks. This collaboration enabled direct connections using TerreStar’s existing geostationary satellite during the October trial.

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