In a nutshell: T-Cellular and SpaceX have joined forces to leverage the latter’s constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to develop mobile protection past the attain of conventional cell towers. Solely text-based communication will likely be supported at first however finally, voice and knowledge could possibly be added to the equation.
T-Cellular mentioned greater than half one million miles within the US are uncovered by cell indicators from any supplier. These cell useless zones exist largely due to land-use restrictions (nationwide parks, for instance) in addition to terrain limitations (mountains and deserts) and the sheer vastness of the US.
To treatment the scenario, the 2 firms are creating a brand new community that may broadcast from Starlink’s satellites utilizing T-Cellular’s mid-band spectrum. Most smartphones on T-Cellular’s community will likely be suitable with the brand new service utilizing current radios, which means there will likely be no further tools to buy.
The service will enter beta testing in choose areas by the top of subsequent 12 months following SpaceX’s deliberate satellite tv for pc launches. As soon as stay, it ought to present T-Cellular prospects with textual content protection virtually in all places within the continental US in addition to in Hawaii, elements of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial waters, as long as the person can see the sky. Musk mentioned it would additionally like work in your automobile or in case your cellphone is in your pocket.
Help will lengthen to SMS, MMS and taking part messaging apps, we’re advised. Later, the businesses will look so as to add voice and knowledge protection to the combination.
T-Cellular CEO Mike Sievert mentioned their “imaginative and prescient” is for the service to be included free of charge as a part of its hottest service plans however added that this isn’t an official announcement (which means plans might change between at times). For lower-cost plans, they could cost a month-to-month service price however Sievert mentioned it will be way more reasonably priced than at this time’s satellite tv for pc connectivity companies.
The 2 firms additionally issued an open invitation to different carriers world wide to collaborate with them for “really international connectivity.” T-Cellular mentioned it would supply reciprocal roaming to suppliers keen to work with them to allow that imaginative and prescient.
Rumors forward of final 12 months’s iPhone 13 debut urged the handsets would assist LEO satellite tv for pc communications courtesy of a partnership with Globalstar however that by no means materialized.