Apple’s Next iPhone Could Offer Satellite Service. Space Stocks Are Jumping.

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Updated Aug. 30, 2021 7:42 p.m. ET / Original Aug. 30, 2021 12:50 p.m. ET

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A technician works connected a Globalstar satellite.

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

Space and outer stocks are jumping arsenic speculation grows that the adjacent mentation of Apple’s iPhone volition beryllium equipped to grip space-based mobile communications, making calls imaginable adjacent beyond the scope of cellular networks.

The quality outlet MacRumors reported Sunday that Ming-Chi Kuo, an expert with TF International Securities known for tapping contacts successful the Asian proviso concatenation for insights astir Apple products, believes that the iPhone 13 volition usage a Qualcomm (QCOM) spot that supports low-earth-orbit outer communications.

Apple (ticker: AAPL) wasn’t instantly disposable to remark connected the report. But investors are taking it seriously.

Stock successful Globalstar (GSAT), which the MacRumors nonfiction said is astir apt to enactment with Apple successful presumption of exertion and work coverage, was up 64% connected Monday. Iridium Communications (IRDM) shares roseate astir 15%. Those 2 already run much than 100 satellites successful debased world orbit, oregon LEO.

Stock successful AST SpaceMobile (ASTS), which is gathering a constellation of small, low-cost LEO satellites to connection mobile communications infrastructure, gained astir 12%. The S&P 500, meanwhile, was up 0.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished disconnected 0.2%.

“Providing outer connectivity to a smartphone has been a beatified grail that has ne'er been accomplished,” wrote William Blair expert Louie DiPalma successful a Sunday report. Space-based connectivity, to this point, has required larger devices. SpaceX, for instance, has astatine slightest 100,000 users of its space-based net service, but that strategy requires comparatively ample terminal hardware to link to the web.

Iridium operates astir 66 LEO satellites, portion Globalstar has astir 48.

“If Apple/ Qualcomm /Iridium fig it out, an iPhone idiosyncratic successful mentation could marque calls without utilizing his oregon her cellular carrier,” DiPalma wrote. “Note that the Iridium connectivity would beryllium debased capacity, frankincense determination would inactive beryllium a request for a cellular carrier.”

DiPalma rates Iridium astatine Outperform, which is the Blair equivalent of Buy, but helium doesn’t person a people for the banal price. He doesn’t screen Globalstar stock.

Apple (AAPL) banal gained 3% Monday, portion Qualcomm gained 0.8% arsenic investors measurement the analyzable implications of space-based mobile communications infrastructure.

Investors successful existing cellular providers, and the infrastructure they use, look not to beryllium concerned. Shares of AT&T (T) were up 0.4%. Its concern wouldn’t needfully beryllium disrupted by the exertion due to the fact that it could licence what are efficaciously space-based cellphone towers. Stock successful American Tower (AMT), a existent property concern spot that owns cellphone towers, gained 2.2%.

The launch-services companies Rocket Lab USA (RKLB) and Astra Space (ASTR), which could payment if much companies privation to enactment satellites into space, were down 3.1% and 19%, respectively. An Astra trial formation failed to scope orbit Saturday, reminding investors of the risks the companies face.

Write to Al Root astatine allen.root@dowjones.com

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