SpaceX satellites will connect directly to T-Mobile phones to provide telephone network to the most isolated places, beyond the range of relay antennas, announced Thursday August 25 the firm of Elon Musk and the German telecom giant . The new service, which will use SpaceX’s thousands of Starlink satellites already in orbit and work on existing phones, will start by enabling the sending and receiving of text messages from late 2023, while voice services are expected to follow. “The important thing is that this means there will be no more dead zones – anywhere in the world – for your phone”said Elon Musk during an event at SpaceX’s Starbase site in Texas.
The service will allow “save lives”, advanced the billionaire, taking the example of lost hikers who are currently unable to call for help. Although satellite Internet access has existed for several years, users are currently demanding specialized equipment, such as Starlink terminals. The service “won’t have the kind of bandwidth that a Starlink terminal would have, but will allow texting, pictures, and if there aren’t too many people in the mobile area you could even potentially have some video »argued Elon Musk.
T-Mobile boss Mike Sievert said he expects the service to be included for free on most current subscription plans, but there may be a surcharge for users on subscriptions to lowest cost. The service will initially be offered to US customers, but T-Mobile is expected to expand it to other markets in the future, Mike Sievert said. “It’s like putting a cell tower in the sky. But much more complicated”he also explained.
Competition in the satellite Internet access market is rapidly intensifying. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently announced plans to eventually launch some 3,200 satellites as governments get involved. China plans to launch a constellation of 13,000 satellites named Guowang and the European Union wants to deploy around 250 by 2024.