LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Lynk Global CEO Charles Miller insisted Apple proved there is no business case for charging for emergency SMS, since the smartphone giant would be setting a price for the service if people were willing to pay. 

Miller argued Apple could afford to subsidise the service with its huge profits.

“No one wants to pay for SOS alerts.”

Lynk Global CEO Charles Miller on a video call during a Mobile World Live unwrapped keynote

Miller (pictured, left) said Lynk Global’s model is to provide a “more robust, more expansive service” for connecting everyone everywhere, with commercial contracts in place and mobile operators willing to roll out the service.

Lynk Global has 35 contracts for its satellite-to-phone system, four of which are commercial.

“We started with SMS and broadband service. We could do voice, but we’ll save that for later.”

Miller added about 750 million people are feeling the pain from not being connected, which he believes is the biggest problem in mobile.

Perhaps predictably, the executive cast doubt on rival Globalstar’s business model, claiming the company led by former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs has a real problem because it does not know how to mass-produce satellites. “It’s going to cost them ten-times more.” 

By contrast, Lynk Global has vertically integrated all its spacecraft in house, bringing the marginal costs for a satellite to $250,000: “We’re not spending $5 million, $10 million or $20 million on a satellite.”

OneWeb VP for APAC David Thorn on a video keynote for a Mobile World Live unwrapped event

Later in the session, OneWeb VP for APAC David Thorn (pictured, left) insisted the satellite communications sector has room for multiple players.

“If you differentiate in a particular area, I believe all of the providers, if we get it right, will be complementary to each other in one way. We never suggest OneWeb or LEO is the answer to everything.”

Thorn argued it is essential to have a dependable business model and understand where competition is coming from.

He noted tasks including sampling soil minerals for the mining and exploration sectors in real time is a big benefit to businesses because analysis can be conducted on site.

“That’s really what the LEO side can do”, he said, citing higher throughput and lower latency.

He noted 8 per cent of population in Australia is without reliable broadband service or any kind of internet connectivity, asserting innovation, education and healthcare are being stifled as a result.