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T-Mobile US and SpaceX team up to deliver phone service from space

2022-08-29 17:34 by
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SpaceX founder Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said that their companies are working to "end mobile dead zones," and will launch a new mobile service enabled by Starlink second-generation satellites and T-Mobile bandwidth.

The two companies announced the scheme under the banner of "Coverage Above and Beyond" at an event hosted by SpaceX founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer Elon Musk and T-Mo CEO Mike Sievert. The goal is to bring together T-Mobile US's terrestrial wireless network with the Starlink low Earth orbit satellite constellation operated by SpaceX.

According to T-Mobile US, the service will initially support text messaging "practically everywhere in the continental US," plus Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and US territorial waters, starting with a beta in select areas by the end of next year.

However, SpaceX and T-Mobile aren't the only companies looking to use satellites to directly communicate with cell phones using existing cell spectrum. For years a company called AST SpaceMobile has promised that it will beam broadband to phones from space, and a company called Lynk Global has already demonstrated that its satellite "cell towers" can be used to send text messages from regular phones.

SpaceX is already the world's leader in providing satellite broadband service from low Earth orbit. Over the past three years, it has launched more than 3,000 of its Starlink satellites, which are manufactured at SpaceX's facility in Redmond, Wash. About 2,300 of those satellites are currently in operation, according to satellite-watcher Jonathan McDowell's Starlink Statistics webpage.

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