At the beginning of the year, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon Satellite initiative – equipping Snapdragon processors with satellite communication modems for use in regular smartphones. It looks like that won't happen: Qualcomm and satellite operator Iridium have canceled their deal. Smartphone manufacturers did not meet the companies' needs.
An Iridium press release says that the partners managed to develop and test the technology, but smartphone manufacturers refused to add the appropriate antennas and equipment to the devices on their part, after which Qualcomm decided to discontinue it.
Qualcomm says its chips will continue to use conventional solutions that only support regular cellular network connectivity. The Snapdragon Satellite project was supposed to launch in the second half of 2023, but obviously this will not happen.
Despite the fact that the global project failed, smartphone manufacturers and telecom operators intend to implement satellite connections on an individual basis. Apple has done this in a limited form starting with the iPhone 14, T-Mobile subscribers can send messages via the Starlink network, and some Chinese companies have announced the upcoming integration of satellite communications into smartphones.