SpaceX and T-Mobile announce plans to enable direct communication between mobile phones and Starlink satellites

by Official SpaceX Photos

Space company SpaceX and T-Mobile, a major American telecommunications carrier, announced plans to make mobile phones available even in remote areas where there is no Internet environment using the second generation satellite of SpaceX's satellite Internet 'Starlink'. did. The idea is to enable direct communication with satellites and mobile phones without using special equipment or terminals, and it is planned to start testing text message services by the end of 2023.

SpaceX, T-Mobile to Connect Satellites to Cellphones in Remote Areas - WSJ

Accessing the Internet from mobile phones in remote areas with poor communication facilities is expensive to connect over land wireless networks, and there are not enough paid subscribers living in remote areas to make that cost profitable. There is a problem.

Satellite phone services have existed for some time, but they usually required you to buy a handset with a huge receiving antenna or a very expensive monthly subscription.

A new service announced by SpaceX and T-Mobile is a mechanism that uses Starlink itself as a cell phone tower. In other words, terrestrial mobile phones communicate directly with Starlink satellites in the mid-band frequency band, eliminating the need for new equipment and terminals for communication.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said at an event at SpaceX's Texas facility that the service will use second-generation Starlink satellites with mid-band wireless communications. Due to the narrow bandwidth, it is not intended to replace land-based cellular service, but rather to cover dead zones with no internet access, Musk said.

According to Mask CEO, 'The attempt with T-Mobile means there will be no dead zones anywhere in the world for mobile phones.' Satellite signals reach places where there are no communication facilities, so it will be possible to exchange basic e-mails even in places hit by natural disasters.

``Most current smartphones will support this new service, and most popular monthly plans will include this satellite service for free,'' said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile.

In addition, Google used to promote a project to provide the Internet to areas where communication infrastructure is not developed by flying a balloon equipped with a Wi-Fi antenna into the stratosphere instead of a satellite. This project had been underway as an independent business since 2018, but the project was discontinued because it could not achieve the low cost to build a long-term and sustainable business.

'Project Loon' that delivers the Internet to the world with a balloon from Google completely shuts down - GIGAZINE

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