More than one mobile telco executive would've felt the chill run down their spine when they read headlines saying Apple's iPhone 13 will support satellite communications.
Terrestrial wireless voice and data communication is amazing technology. It's also expensive to build the towers and other network infrastructure that's required for it and to maintain the whole shebang for years on end.
If you could minimise the terrestrial outlay for building the network, and even shift a good chunk of the cost on to subscribers, doesn't that sound like a winning business strategy?
SpaceX's Starlink which now provides commercial service in New Zealand with $799 plus shipping ground terminals that are self-installed by users, and a meaty $159 a month subscription charge, got that idea off the ground for now at least.
Satellite communications capability in a smartphone would be quite a technological feat, but if Apple indeed has added that feature to the iPhone 13 which is rumoured to be released this month, there's a reasonable chance that its engineers have got it working right.
Telco execs can breathe easy though. It doesn't look like their networks will be overbuilt from the skies this time.
The excitement stems from an announcement by a company called Globalstar that does indeed provide satellite service, but in this case, it's about the radio electronics in the iPhone 13 apparently supporting Band 53 in the 2.4 gigaHertz range.
That's channel 14 for 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, which is not free for public use but is assigned to Globalstar.
Globalstar operates a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites like Starlink, sells SPOT handsets that can communicate with them, so no wonder then that the rumour mill went into overdrive and the company's share price went through the roof.
Whether or not Apple ignores the triskaidekaphobic and launches an iPhone 13 which supports Band 53 in some capacity remains to be seen.
Band 53 is a relatively narrow sliver of radio frequency spectrum, only 11.5 MHz wide, and it won't provide 4G/5G capacity.
In comparison, the 3GPP mobile telco industry association reckons 80 to 100 MHz of bandwidth is needed to make 5G perform to user expectations in 2021.
Land-lubbing mobile telcos had better watch this space though. Literally, because humanity has always been keen to beam electromagnetic energy through thin air.
Nikolai Tesla tried to figure out how to distribute electricity around the world wirelessly, an idea that the United States Jet Propulsion Laboratory tried out much later in the 70s, and which New Zealand startup Emrod is now working to realise.
If at some point we'll get a secure, quantum entangled internet that provides faster speeds than 0.12 bits per second, it is likely to use a network of satellite repeaters, recent research in China suggests.
Anti-vaxxers and conspiracy nutters hoping to escape to the moon to avoid common sense public health measures will be disappointed to know that Nasa's Space Technology Mission Directorate last year asked Nokia to build a 5G network on the celestial body.
Closer to the Earth, we already have the first cell towers in the sky. A US company, Lynk, set up by reusable space hardware company Nanoracks founder Charlie Miller, put its fifth LEO satellite called Shannon, into a 500 kilometre orbit in July this year.
Lynk says Shannon is designed for mass production, with 200 a month planned to be made.
The company hopes to get US Federal Communications Commission approval to start commercial service in 2022, using both Musk's SpaceX and Bezos' Blue Origin fire satellites into the sky to build a constellation that covers the globe.
Miller's company envisages that Lynk's will reach more than five billion potential customers with affordable service to their cheap devices.
One device, one plan, for connectivity everywhere is the idea, and Lynk claims to have 30 mobile network operators in 60 countries signed up to test the service.
There isn't enough technical detail yet on Lynk's service and satellite communications providers are notorious for running into financial strife and going under, but it is a compelling pitch.
Lynk is correct to say that communications are vital for faster disaster response, and a service that can reach the billions of people who are unconnected in a world that'll get hit even harder by climate change could indeed be more robust and reliable if it is satellite based.
To my mind, that prospect is more exciting than getting satellite communications in hugely expensive iPhones that only people in wealthy and highly-served markets can afford.
Cheap "satcomms" service is likely to put pressure on mobile providers in the next few years, and it'll be interesting to learn where this will take us, and how long it'll be before we can't see the stars for the satellites above.