Starlink is about to be activated…Galaxy S23 is also considered to be equipped with satellite communication
It has been confirmed that SpaceX’s satellite Internet service “Starlink,” led by Elon Musk, has started hiring manpower for landing in Korea. Recently, President Yoon Suk Yeol and Elon Musk discussed telecommunication cooperation, and the Ministry of Science and ICT is trying to recover the 5th generation mobile communication (5G) 28GHz band of domestic telecommunication companies, which seems to accelerate StarLink’s entry into Korea. As Samsung Electronics (005930) is also considering installing satellite communication functions on Galaxy smartphones, expectations are rising that the base of satellite communication in Korea can be expanded quickly.
According to an industry on the 30th, Starlink is currently hiring Korean and English bilingual users (Bilingual) to work in customer support departments in California and Washington, USA. It is a 24-hour department with shift work, and it seems to be recruiting people who can support remote customers in the U.S. prior to the launch of the Korean service.
Starlink is also recruiting people who can speak Japanese, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Malay, and Tagalog. Except for Southeast Asia, all are currently in service by Starlink. An industry official said, “As Starlink announces its entry into Korea in the first quarter of next year and is recruiting related personnel, the landing in Korea is a fait accompli.” In fact, in July, Starlink reportedly inquired the Ministry of Science and ICT about procedures related to satellite communication services.
There are two ways for Starlink to serve in Korea. The first is to register as a key telecommunications service provider and enter directly. In this case, under the Telecommunications Business Act, the stake of overseas operators cannot exceed 49%, so common investment with domestic companies is essential. It is difficult to enter Korea in the first quarter of next year as it needs more than half a year to register as a key telecommunication business operator. Second, there is a plan to sign a cross-border supply agreement for key communication services to the three telecommunications companies. It is a method of providing StarLink services through three telecommunication companies.
The industry believes that StarLink is likely to choose the latter to meet its goal of release. There is already a precedent for entering Japan through cooperation with telecommunication company KDDI. An industry official said, “There was no specific discussion, but Starlink met with the three telecommunications companies,” adding, “Considering the high price range, high-speed Internet, and 5G penetration rate in Korea, it is more likely to target the B2B market such as 5G backhaul, military, fire, and ship than ordinary users.”
The supply of terminals for satellite communication is also expected to be activated. Following Apple’s addition of satellite communication functions to the iPhone 14, speculation has been raised that Samsung Electronics is also seeking to install satellite communication functions in next-generation Galaxy. Samsung Electronics has already developed related technologies for two years and is likely to support satellite communication from Galaxy S23, which will be released as early as next year. Iridium of the U.S. is the most likely partner. Iridium is providing global voice and data communication services with 66 communication satellites.
The reason why the industry is paying attention to satellite communication is its versatility. For existing mobile communication and high-speed Internet, ground base stations and wired connections are essential. In remote mountainous areas, islands, and seas, utilization is limited and disaster response is limited. If we turn our attention to the global market, the potential of satellite communication will increase. In fact, the reason why Apple started satellite communication services in North America first is because of its wide land and low 5G and ultra-high-speed Internet penetration.
There is also a lot of room for telecommunication companies to use high-speed satellite communication. In addition to being able to replace the 5G backhaul connecting 5G base stations, it can replace the inter-country Internet network that was connected by existing submarine cables with satellites. An industry official said, “Korea has no difficulty in having coverage across the country due to its narrow territory, but global companies such as Samsung Electronics and Apple are paying attention to satellite communication because it uses satellite communication in North America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa.”