In a ground-breaking move, global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin has developed a new LTE-over-Satellite system designed to provide connectivity to remote regions, including areas without cell phone coverage, off-shore boats, or during natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, catastrophic floods or volcanoes.
Maria Demaree, Vice-President and General Manager of Mission Solutions at Lockheed Martin Space, commented: “When disaster strikes, cell phone networks often go down – whether because of the event or because of the sheer volume of traffic. So, it’s important to have new ways to connect families and first responders with people who would be otherwise cut off from contact.”
Usually, during an emergency that would wipe out cellular networks, specialised satellite phones are the only option for mobile connectivity. Lockheed Martin’s new system, which will allow commercial phones to connect to a pop-up cellular network that is connected directly to a satellite, takes advantage of the fact that 4G devices are now widespread across the world. In fact, a recent 2018 Global Mobile Suppliers Association Report highlighted that LTE now accounts for 35.7 per cent of all mobile subscriptions globally.
Lockheed Martin’s LTE-over-Satellite system will connect existing phones to satellites for more reliable connections during such occasions where users would normally have limited connectivity to cellular networks. Hotspots can also be mounted to vehicles, trucks, or ships to provide additional connectivity.