SpaceX and T-Mobile partner up to link satellites to cell phones

How will the coverage work?

Cellular service providers often have to face obstacles such as land-use restrictions applicable in areas such as National Parks and terrain limits of various geographies they operate in that lead to network dead zones. However, as the satellite internet experience has shown, even the remotest of areas can be covered with a constellation of satellites in low-earth orbits.

The collaboration between T-Mobile and SpaceX, however, goes a step forward to ensure that the coverage can be provided using the same equipment that the user currently has. So, no need to buy a dish terminal or proprietary hardware. The cellphone you are using to read this article perhaps could still be able to access these services when they are launched in beta by the end of next year.

Elon Musk also tweeted that users could expect 2-4M bits of data speeds in each cell zone, which could work for texting and voice calls but not high bandwidth.

To do so, T-Mobile and SpaceX will create a new network using Starlink’s satellites and the cellular provider’s mid-band spectrum in the U.S. Initially, this network will allow users access to text services over SMS, MMS as well as participating messaging apps. The service can be expected across the continental U.S., Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and territorial waters in a beta version after SpaceX’s planned launches next year.

Leave a Comment