Shares in space and satellites are skyrocketing as speculation grows that the next version of the iPhone will be equipped for cellular communications in space, enabling calling even beyond the range of cellular networks.
The news broadcastt MacRumors reported on Sunday that Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities known for his contacts in the Asian supply chain for insights on Apple products, believes the iPhone 13 is a Qualcomm chip that supports satellite communications in low Earth orbit.
Apple (ticker: AAPL) was not immediately available for comment on the report. But investors take it seriously.
(GSAT), which the MacRumors article said is most likely partnering with Apple on technology and service coverage, rose 44% in early trading Monday.
(IRDM) shares were up about 9%. Those two already operate more than 100 satellites in low Earth orbit, or LEO.
(ASTS), which is building a constellation of small, low-cost LEO satellites to provide mobile communications infrastructure, gained about 7%. The
meanwhile, rose 0.4% and the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
“Providing satellite connectivity to a smartphone is a holy grail that has never been achieved,” William Blair analyst Louie DiPalma wrote in a Sunday report. Space-based connectivity has until now required larger devices. For example, SpaceX has at least 100,000 users of its space-based Internet service, but that system requires relatively large terminal hardware to connect to the Internet.
Iridium operates about 66 LEO satellites, while Globalstar has about 48.
/Iridium, an iPhone user could theoretically make calls without using his or her mobile carrier,” DiPalma wrote. “Note that the Iridium connectivity would be low capacity, so there would still be a need for a cellular provider.”
DiPalma estimates Iridium at Outperform, the Blair equivalent of Buy, but he has no target for the stock price. He does not cover Globalstar shares.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) rose 2.2%, while Qualcomm (QCOM) gained 1.6% as investors weigh in on the complex implications of mobile communications infrastructure in the space.
Investors in existing mobile carriers and the infrastructure they use don’t seem to be concerned. Shares of
(T) increased by 0.1%. His business wouldn’t necessarily be disrupted by the technology, as it could license what are essentially space-based cell phone towers. stock up
(AMT), a real estate investment trust that owns cell towers, gained 1.4%.
The launch services companies
Rocket Lab USA
(ASTR), which could benefit if more companies want to place satellites in space, fell 3% and 19%, respectively. An Astra test flight failed to reach orbit on Saturday, reminding investors of the risks the companies face.
Write to Al Root at email@example.com