One New Zealand, formerly known as Vodafone, partnered with SpaceX Starlink to provide satellite-to-cellular service across the country in 2024. “We're very proud to announce a new collaboration with SpaceX to provide 100 percent mobile coverage across the New Zealand. No more black spots for One New Zealand customers!” it announced on its new website on April 3rd. One New Zealand is the third company to sign an agreement with SpaceX for direct satellite-to-cellular service. The first telecommunications company to make a deal was American mobile service provider T-Mobile, followed by European telecommunications company Salt – as previously reported by TESMANIAN.
To provide satellite-to-cellular service, SpaceX will equip some of its future second-generation (Gen2/V2) Starlink satellites with large antennas that will beam cellular service down to Earth. “When the service goes live, there will be 100 percent coverage across the country whether you’re out on your boat, climbing a mountain, fixing a remote road or on your farm – New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses are safer with us. We’re taking coverage and connectivity further than ever before, with one giant leap towards the most advanced and safest network in the country,” the website states.
“Welcome to day one for One New Zealand. Today we’re announcing that NZ will have 100% mobile coverage in 2024, in a collaboration with SpaceX. This will end black spots & keep you, your family & your business safer. Great to be on board Elon Musk,” said One New Zealand CEO Jason Paris via Twitter.
Welcome to day one for @onenzofficial. Today we’re announcing that NZ will have 100% mobile coverage in 2024, in a collaboration with @SpaceX. This will end black spots & keep you, your family & your business safer. Great to be on board @elonmusk. pic.twitter.com/5HukDGYcIe— Jason Paris (@JasonCParis) April 2, 2023
One New Zealand's mobile service is currently delivered to its customers with ground based cellular towers, with SpaceX’s Starlink collaboration the company will be able to provide satellite-based text messaging, voice calls, and eventually internet data, directly to its customers smartphones without the need for additional infrastructure nor any mobile device upgrades. The Starlink satellites will be like ‘cell towers in the sky’ which will be extremely useful for customers living or working in rural and remote communities. “150-200 beams (cells) will be required for the network. Each beam will cover a 50km (kilometer) diameter on the ground,” shared One New Zealand. First, they plan to roll out text messaging in 2024, “Data, voice and video will follow in early 2025. We will provide 2-4 Mbps download or uplink per beam.”
SpaceX has plans to begin testing Starlink satellite-to-cellular service this year, beginning with T-Mobile. The service will enable global roaming for T-Mobile customers. "We’ve designed our system so that no modifications are required to the cell phone everyone has in their pocket today, and no new firmware, software updates, or apps are needed," said SpaceX. Read more: SpaceX & T-Mobile Partner To Provide Starlink Satellite-to-Cellular Service In 2023 -'It means no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phones'
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Featured Image Source: One New Zealand / SpaceX
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.