SpaceX's Starlink has debuted a new website dedicated to its upcoming Starlink service for mobile phones, known as "Starlink Direct to Cell," designed for "Seamless access to text, voice, and data for LTE phones across the globe." This system will harness SpaceX's growing Starlink satellite network in Earth's orbit to provide cellular service to unmodified smartphones.
"Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities enable ubiquitous access to texting, calling, and browsing wherever you may be on land, lakes, or coastal waters. Direct to Cell will also connect IoT devices with common LTE standards," the company’s website states. SpaceX plans to equip its future Starlink satellites with an "advanced eNodeB modem." This innovation will essentially transform a Starlink satellite into a "cellphone tower in space," enabling network integration similar to a standard roaming partner.
The new website discloses that SpaceX is aiming to launch satellite-based text messaging in 2024, with plans to expand to voice and text support in 2025. Additionally, the service will offer cellular connectivity to IoT devices in 2025. The service will work with existing LTE phones without the need for any hardware, firmware changes, or special apps. It promises seamless access to text, voice, and data wherever there's a clear view of the sky.
However, SpaceX's plans are contingent on securing approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before it can formally launch the service. The company has been actively requesting the FCC for approval to utilize the required radio bands. Nevertheless, it's facing opposition from competitors, including Dish Network and Apple partner Globalstar, which is delaying FCC approval, as previously reported by TESMANIAN.
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Featured Image Source: SpaceX Starlink.com
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.