SpaceX And T-Mobile Launch The First Set Of Direct To Cell Starlink Satellites!
By TD NewsDesk
Updated on Thu, Jan 4, 2024
The company has been engaged in revolutionizing space travel and low-orbit satellite communications for a while now and has enjoyed success and some pushback at times.
However, the start of the new year has brought good news for SpaceX, in the form of an important announcement in collaboration with mobile telecommunications company, T-Mobile.
So, what was the exciting announcement all about? Let’s explore!
What DId T-Mobile And SpaceX Announce?
“3…2…1…Lift off! Today, T-Mobile announced that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched the first set of Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities,” that’s how the announcement on T-Mobile's webpage began.
The announcement was made following a livestreamed webcast of the launch.
However, in October 2023, SpaceX set up and launched a webpage outlining when the service would be made available.
Text capabilities would come in 2024 (it’s here!), voice and data would start in 2025 along with IoT devices with common LTE standards.
The idea is to bring connectivity to nearly everywhere in the US, even in many remote locations previously unreachable by traditional cell signals AKA dead zones.
Ahead of this, the plan is to provide connectivity the world over, with both companies issuing open invitations to wireless providers worldwide.
So far, Optus (Australia), Rogers (Canada), One NZ (New Zealand), KDDI (Japan), Salt (Switzerland) and Entel (Chile and Peru) are onboard.
What Did Stakeholder Say?
Mike Katz, President of Marketing, Strategy and Products, T-Mobile, said, “Our mission is to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world and today is another step forward in keeping our customers connected even in the most remote locations for added peace of mind when they need it most.
[Contd.] “Today’s launch is a pivotal moment for this groundbreaking alliance with SpaceX and our global partners around the world, as we work to make dead zones a thing of the past.”
Dr. Sara Spangelo, Sr. Director of Satellite Engineering, Co-lead Direct to Cell, SpaceX, said, “The launch of these first Direct to Cell satellites is an exciting milestone for SpaceX to demonstrate our technology ... We look forward to rapidly scaling up Direct to Cell with our partner operators around the world and rolling out messaging service for T-Mobile customers!”
A while ago we reported on SpaceX’s Starlink trying to make inroads into India to launch its internet services in the country.
Now, however, SpaceX is finding other applications in India, as the country looks to launch a communications satellite using SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket this year, in its first partnership with a company owned by Elon Musk.
The launch aims to boost broadband communications in remote areas of the country. As of now, the launch date is set for the second quarter of this year.
Do you think SpaceX’s and T-Mobile's announcement will spur other companies to join in the open invitation for the Direct to Cell initiative? Do you think it will encourage telecom companies to start similar initiatives?
Let us know in the comments below!
First published on Fri, Jan 5, 2024
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