TELUS, Terrestar and Skylo demonstrate Canada’s first two-way communication between smartphones and satellites

Montreal, November 1, 2023
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Successful trial, including IoT-to-satellite test, paves the way to eliminating no-coverage zones and providing ubiquitous connectivity

MONTREAL - TELUS and Canadian-based Terrestar Solutions (operating under the Strigo brand) have successfully used satellite connectivity to conduct voice calls, and in partnership with Skylo, send text messages between smartphones, and connect to Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This is a bold step toward a future without mobile no-coverage zones, one where all Canadians can feel safe and connected.

"This groundbreaking trial demonstrates the power of satellite technology and advances TELUS’ mission to bring vital connectivity to every area of Canada,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO, TELUS. “This collaboration with Terrestar and Skylo lays the foundation for a world where everyone has access to potentially life-saving connectivity, and businesses and institutions can operate more sustainably and efficiently in remote regions. Through this innovative technology, we look forward to ensuring even more Canadians are able to connect with what matters most."

In the future, this groundbreaking technology could fill existing gaps in mobile networks and transform the world into one where universal mobile-to-satellite and IoT-to-satellite connectivity can:

  • Ensure customers in remote areas, such as hikers or campers, have mobile access no matter where they are;
  • Provide backup connectivity so that emergency services are never out of reach, even when natural disasters impact networks and damage cell towers;
  • Improve employee safety and reduce costs for industries that require remote field work and monitoring of critical operations like forestry, energy and scientific research;
  • Enable uninterrupted fleet vehicle tracking and management of supplies for businesses in the most remote areas; and
  • Deliver real-time data visibility, including temperature, water and site-specific information to farmers to improve decision-making and sustainability in remote agriculture.

As chipset manufacturers look to equip the next generation of smartphones with 5G satellite capabilities, TELUS is exploring these solutions with hopes of introducing these devices to customers in 2024.

"This successful demonstration marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of global connectivity,” said Jacques Leduc, President of Terrestar. “With the convergence of Terrestar, TELUS and Skylo's cutting-edge technologies, we're ushering in an era of unparalleled connectivity and transformative value for Canadian customers. Together, we're charting a course towards a future where no corner of Canada is left unconnected, promising safety and connectivity for all. This achievement reflects our unwavering commitment to a digitally inclusive Canada.”

“We are thrilled to partner with TELUS and Terrestar to bring direct satellite connectivity to customers in Canada,” said Tarun Gupta, CPO and Co-Founder of Skylo. “We’ve been able to expand beyond smartphones – into wearables and low cost, low power, IoT devices. This revolutionary new service will ubiquitously transform lives and businesses in a way no other mode of connectivity has done before.”

The trial combined industry-leading non-terrestrial-network (NTN) service provider Skylo’s technology platform; Terrestar’s spectrum and service platform which covers most of Canada’s geography; and TELUS’ expertise in building world-leading networks. All of this supported the October trial that was successful in making direct connections using Terrestar’s existing geostationary satellite.

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with more than $18 billion in annual revenue and over 18 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. Our social purpose is to leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to drive social change and enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. The numerous, sustained accolades TELUS has earned over the years from independent, industry-leading network insight firms showcase the strength and speed of TELUS’ global-leading networks, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better.

Operating in 32 countries around the world, TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that designs, builds, and delivers next-generation solutions, including AI and content moderation, for global and disruptive brands across strategic industry verticals, including tech and games, communications and media, eCommerce and fintech, banking, financial services and insurance, health care, and others.

TELUS Health is a global health care leader, which provides employee and family primary and preventive health care and wellness solutions. Our TELUS team, along with our 100,000 health professionals, are leveraging the combination of TELUS’ strong digital and data analytics capabilities with our unsurpassed client service to dramatically improve remedial, preventive and mental health outcomes covering 67 million lives, and growing, around the world. As the largest provider of digital solutions and digital insights of its kind, TELUS Agriculture & Consumer Goods enables efficient and sustainable production from seed to store, helping improve the safety and quality of food and other goods in a way that is traceable to end consumers.

Driven by our determination and vision to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS and our team to contribute $1.6 billion, including 2.2 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, follow us at @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.

About Terrestar Solutions

Terrestar Solutions Inc. is a Canadian mobile satellite operator engaged in the race to bring direct-to-device satellite services to smartphones and IoT devices and make anywhere in Canada communication a reality. The Company is committed to nurturing the ever-evolving, standards-based and open network ecosystem, enabling Mobile Network Operators to deliver ubiquitous communication services. Thanks to the Echostar T1 satellite, its ground network infrastructure and mobile satellite spectrum, Terrestar connects Canadians from almost anywhere in the country, even in Canada’s most remote regions through its Strigo Mobile Satellite Service (MSS). The Strigo service also supports non-profit and First Nations organizations, a testament to the Company’s strong sense of responsibility towards the welfare and progress of the communities it serves.

For more information, visit terrestarsolutions.ca, contact media@terrestarsolutions.ca, or follow us on LinkedIn.

About Skylo

Skylo Technologies is a global NTN service provider based in Mountain View, CA, offering a service that allows smartphone and IoT cellular devices to connect directly over existing satellites. Devices connected over satellite are managed and served by Skylo's commercial NTN vRAN, featuring a 3GPP standards-based cloud-native base station and core. Skylo works with existing satellite operators, network operators, and device makers to provide subscribers an anywhere, anytime connectivity solution that seamlessly roams between terrestrial and satellite networks. Skylo's focus is on enabling connected services for people outdoors and connected workflows for machines at work across critical industries such as agriculture, maritime, logistics, mining, and others, in addition to mass-market consumer devices. For more information, visit www.skylo.tech, contact info@skylo.tech, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Tatianna Goldsney
TELUS Public Relations
tatianna.goldsney@telus.com

Victoria Ollers
Terrestar/Strigo
vicki.ollers@terrestar.ca

Rosa Lear
Skylo
Head of Marketing
press@skylo.tech