Satellite still has big plans for this year, like its own eSIM offering for mobile Internet and full SMS support.
The satellite is one of the most interesting mobile communications products in recent years, because the offer aims to break away from the classic SIM card. It has worked well for telephony for some time, it can be contacted via a landline number regardless of the inserted SIM card. A few more features will be added in the new year, such as SMS support. They have been working on it for two years, but the reception of SMS messages still does not work 100%. In addition to full SMS support, there are many other projects for the Satellite team that will be addressed this year alone.
Receiving verification SMS has been on our minds for a while, and will continue to do so in 2020. What many don’t even know: We created the necessary technology in 2018 and integrated it into the app this year. In theory, everyone can receive SMS via satellite. But an implementation only makes sense if 100% of the verification SMS arrives by satellite; unfortunately that doesn’t (yet) work. As a young and innovative supplier, we have to enter into individual contracts with many, many companies, and this process takes a long time.
Over 100 people are currently helping us alpha testing to find the remaining “gaps” in receiving SMS messages. How long this testing phase lasts and when SMS can be reliably delivered to all users, we only know after the testing phase (hopefully successful). We will also extend the SMS alpha test to other users. If you are interested, subscribe to our newsletter in the application settings under “My satellite”. As soon as we invite more testers, we will be the first to announce this in the newsletter.
eSIM for data
Starting in the summer of 2020 we will offer an eSIM as an in-app purchase on the satellite. Then a separate data connection is possible. But of course you can use the app with any other data connection like before.
Last year we saw that many satellite users use the app when they travel to make cheap calls abroad. We will first focus on these people with the data option. You can reserve the data connection around the world from the application and make direct calls. The next step will be that the data option can also be used within Germany. To do this, we first have to negotiate with other German suppliers.
In order to use eSIM from the satellite, appropriate cell phones are required, currently the newer models from Apple and Google. We cannot yet name a specific price for the in-app purchase, as it is not yet clear what volume of data will be included. The data connection is primarily intended for telephony, but of course it can also be used to browse the Internet normally. So we still have to find the right balance between a low price and a sufficient volume of data. But today it is clear: there will be no minimum term and the subscription can be canceled at any time.
We are currently working on the implementation and activation of the data option from the application. It’s a pretty big challenge, but we’re sure: we’ll be ready in time for the trip in the summer of 2020.
Voicemail setup was the most requested feature (besides SMS) in 2019, so we addressed it earlier this year. Already in the conception phase it was clear: calling a number and making an announcement are old school and don’t fit in with a modern mobile phone app. And since we always try to rethink telephony and its features, we have simply integrated all voicemail customization into the app.
All users, regardless of whether they are Satellite or Satellite Plus, can simply disable voicemail in the application settings if they do not need the answering machine. Satellite Plus users can also create any number of their own announcements:
- Record yourself (the classic and now available)
- Text to speech (text ad, which is automatically converted to speech -> scheduled)
- Upload file (for example for a business connection professional advertisement -> planned)
With configurable voicemail, we are now showing for the first time what a feature can feel like on Satellite and Satellite Plus. We are looking forward to your feedback as the different feature scopes will also be shown over and over again with other new features.
For us, smart accessibility means more than just setting your phone to “do not disturb.” With satellite you can set times and places where your phone will not ring, in any combination. The satellite robot will even give you personalized suggestions for meaningful accessibility rules. The function is especially interesting for users who use satellite, for example, as a business number and want to separate business and private telephony.
IFTTT and Zapier
What we have learned from the beginning: Many satellite fans are not only frequent phone users, but also true telephony experts and technology optimizers. This was confirmed at the community meeting, because our guests were able to vote on a feature wall which feature we should definitely build. Second in voting: the entry of webhooks in the application that invoke a URL after each call. This year we are making the hearts of home automation specialists beat faster and we are working to ensure that the satellite can also be used with IFTTT and Zapier.
In addition, international accessibility will be increased and the integration of the following features is also planned:
- Local numbers
- International numbers
- AI features