Elon Musk Announces StarLink Will Bring Dead-Zone Coverage to T-Mobile

T-Mobile Says It’s Getting Rid of Mobile Dead Zones Thanks to New Partnership with SpaceX Starlink Satellite Internetat an event It was run by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sivert and Elon Musk. With their “coverage above and beyond” system, mobile phones can connect to satellites and use a portion of the link providing 2 to 4 megabits per second connections (total) across a given coverage area.

According to Musk, Second generation Starlink satellites Due to launch next year, the service will be able to broadcast using a portion of T-Mobile’s mid-band PCS spectrum. A few years ago Sprint was allowed to buy. The new satellites will have “huge, huge antennas” that will be 5 to 6 meters across to enable new connections, Musk said, and the plan is to launch equipment through them. The upcoming starship rocket.

The company says it will let you text, send MMS messages and use “select messaging apps” whenever you have a clear view of the sky, even if no traditional service is available. According to A press release from T-Mobile“Cellular service from satellite” is “available throughout the continental US, Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial seas.”

“If there aren’t too many people in the cell zone, you might even have a little bit of video,” Musk said. As Sievert described, operators of messaging apps like WhatsApp or iMessage must work with T-Mobile and Starlink to identify and work with the satellite link once it’s launched.

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Musk elaborated a bit more, saying that unlike conventional internet service, Starling can work without access to the entire satellite constellation. By limiting it to certain messages and services, only where there is currently no cellular connection, it can use a more intermittent connection for “basic” coverage, although you may have to wait 30 minutes for a message to go through. By.

The two executives said they are looking to partner with mobile carriers around the world who are interested in mutual spectrum sharing agreements where customers can connect with SpaceX. T-Mobile customers can also use those connections when visiting other countries.

Musk too He said on Twitter One of his other companies, Tesla, will use the same technology Premium connectivity feature In its electric vehicles. Currently, Tesla uses AT&T’s network for things like live traffic visualization, satellite-view maps and music streaming.

Musk said the service could work even when your phone is in your pocket or car.
Image: SpaceX

The service will launch in beta in “select areas” by the end of next year, and Sievert says he hopes it will one day include data. He says When it launches, T-Mobile’s “vision” is to include the carrier’s “most popular plans” for free, though today’s event isn’t an official announcement, he said. He said T-Mobile wants to make it available to people with “low-cost” plans for a lower “monthly service fee” than current satellite connectivity services. (It covers a wide range of prices, though – Garmins InReach satellite messenger subscription plans(For example, start at $14.95 per month but go up to $64.95 per month.)

T-Mobile says subscribers’ existing phones can use the network — no special equipment required. As Elon Musk said in the announcement: “The phone you have now will work.”

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert and SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert and SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk
Image: SpaceX

The fact that it uses traditional cell spectrum is a double-edged sword. Not requiring special equipment is an obvious advantage, but T-Mobile doesn’t own the rights to that bandwidth worldwide. While SpaceX’s satellites can technically communicate with phones internationally, when you take your phone to another country or international waters, T-Mobile doesn’t have rights to the same bands its computer uses.

It is not compatible with traditional satellite communications networks, such as the Iridium system used by Garmin. If phone manufacturers want to introduce their own version of this feature, something Apple was rumored to be in the worksPartnering with other satellite providers gives them more coverage than what T-Mobile offers.

as Walter Peasicksays an analyst at Lightshed Partners on the edge: “Apple and Samsung may have an easier time integrating existing satellite connectivity into their upcoming phones than Starlink faces in trying to pool spectrum rights with wireless operators around the world.”

Fights over spectrum rights can get messy and indeed already have. T-Mobile and Verizon are available He urged the Federal Communications Commission AST & Science says its system could interfere with its ground-based networks to prevent it from launching satellites that could provide mobile phone service from space. SpaceX is Caught in a battle 12Ghz spectrum with Dish Networks, which it wants to use for terrestrial 5G. Musk has warned its home internet users that the dish using 12Ghz is completely over Destroys its satellite internet service. Analysts even questioned whether the service announced today would require additional approvals from the FCC.

Sievert also said T-Mobile is “open” to the possibility of using SpaceX for its network backhaul in the future, especially in rural areas. While the two companies are now a few steps away from pitching (again, Musk says each cell will support about 2-4 megabits), it could help the carrier lower the cost of expanding its network. Such a plan would be similar What Verizon announced That plan appears to be in tandem with Amazon’s Khyber satellite internet project Far away It looks like Amazon hasn’t launched any of its satellites yet.

Earlier this year, SpaceX Lost bid for rural internet grants Because The cost of its equipment. But if it can piggyback on T-Mobile’s existing equipment that people in rural areas already own, that could help the Federal Communications Commission’s case. Thursday’s presentation was definitely a hit in rural coverage Videos of people in remote parksMountains or grazing animals.

UPDATE 10:15PM ET: Tesla added information about using it for premium connectivity in its cars.

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