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#1536 new defect

UK firm takes on Apple iPhone14 and Elon Musk with satellite phone

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UK firm takes on Apple iPhone14 and Elon Musk with satellite phone

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/CC7D/production/_126594325_bullitt-services-header-01-min-1.png

A British smartphone maker hopes to steal a march on Apple and Tesla boss Elon Musk with a new satellite-connected handset, the BBC has learned.

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If there is no wi-fi or mobile network signal, the idea is the Bullitt phone will automatically link to one of two global satellite networks.

There is speculation that Apple's forthcoming iPhone 14 could have emergency satellite connectivity.

Mr Musk is also working on a satellite phone service with T-Mobile.

However, last month he said plans were hampered by "regulatory approval" of satellite launches and added that the service would be unlikely to become available before the end of 2023.

Bullitt's service is due to launch in February 2023 and will initially enable users to send and receive text messages only.

The recipient will receive the message in the form of an SMS and can reply if they download Bullitt's app. It is free to use for them - but the Bullitt phone owner will have to pay a monthly subscription for the service.

The firm declined to say how much it would cost but said it would be available in tiers, on a par with existing mobile tariffs and payable on top of a standard network contract. It has yet to release images of the device.

And while Apple's service is rumoured to be for emergency use only in North America, Bullitt claims its phone will automatically switch to satellite in the absence of any other signal worldwide.

"What we've got is a smartphone launching in February that will be capable of two-way messaging, via satellite, with global coverage," said Bullitt co-founder Richard Wharton.

"I'm hoping that we've managed to jump ahead."

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