The race is on to get a chunk of the largest identified opportunity in the constellations and space sector: connecting terrestrial handsets to satellite to provide seamless connectivity. This article from Light Reading gives a good overview of the situation, just a week before the much awaited announcement of a partnership between Apple and Globalstar on the subject (as the rumor predicts…(EDIT) the rumor was right).
Whatever will be the news from Apple and Globalstar, there are already many contenders involved: big players like Starlink, Iridium, Echostar/Dish and start-ups like Lynk, AST, OQ technology… The market is expected to be immense and it will be the first concrete steps in the convergence between space and telcos. Beyond the tehcnological and regulatory and financial hurdles, there is no doubt that this will happen and rather sooner than later as Musk is pushing hard on the accelerator. And the first services will probably in texting/messaging (SMS and the likes of WhatsApp), IoT and than probably voice and data. This may be an existential threat to satellite IoT companies that could be relegated to ultra-niche markets. Future will tell!