iPhone and Android users may be able to access the SpaceX Starlink service using satellite hotspot

It was disclosed that SpaceX plans to request the 2GHz frequency for usage with mobile customers in a filing with the FCC on Monday. Although we don’t fully understand what this means, it might signal the beginning of the company’s service offering to cell phone consumers.

Aug. 26 update: T-Mobile and SpaceX are working together to provide service to cell phone users in emergency situations and dead zones in addition to this offering. Continue reading here

Starlink, a satellite internet service offered by SpaceX, has grown dramatically in recent years. This year has seen a dramatic increase in the number of satellites, with SpaceX now managing over 2500 satellites in orbit and close to 500,000 subscribers.

This increase in frequency to 2GHz would make its signals less susceptible to interference from obstructions and more compatible with mobile devices, such as smartphones. The file, which explains how increasing Starlinks’ coverage to 2GHz will benefit all Americans, was discovered by PCMag first.

Americans are wanting connectivity more and more, no matter where they are, what they are doing, or when. They have been accustomed to being able to connect using tiny, portable gadgets that they can attach to mobile platforms or take with them.

SpaceX per its FCC filing According to SpaceX, it is able to do this because it purchased Swarm, a provider of data for Internet-of-Things devices and a leader in nanosatellites. SpaceX purchased the business in August of last year .

Current Starlink satellites would not be able to provide this mobile service, according to a Monday FCC filing. Instead, SpaceX said it would manufacture a small mobile device that consumers could connect to on the ground and attach fresh modules to the satellites.

In place of the huge dish that needs a wall outlet for power, SpaceX is suggesting a small handheld gadget. The FCC petition, however, makes no mention of the device’s appearance or its size.

FUTURE POSSIBLE USE IN IPHONES AND OTHER SMARTPHONES Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported first claimed in 2019 that Apple had been considering giving its iPhones satellite connectivity. Could the Starlink capability for mobile devices signal a partnership between SpaceX and Apple?

Perhaps not yet, but it’s easy to make a distinction between the two businesses given that it seems doubtful that Apple will create its own satellites. Apple might face competition from other satellite constellation operators. Since a few years ago, OneWeb has been expanding its LEO constellations, and Amazons Project Kuiper is likely to begin launching.

For Apple, LEO constellations would make the most sense because they offer lower latency than ViaSat’s or other providers’ geostationary satellites. For instance, SpaceX claims that the latency of their mobile services might be as low as 50 ms, which the company claims would not be perceptible to customers. If Apple decides to move forward with this satellite iPhone option, it will need to provide this kind of low latency service. Apple is anticipated to first limit the usage of its satellite link to acting as SOS beacons in locations with poor cell phone reception.

Currently, it appears that this mobile user Starlink service would be an addition to an existing Starlink subscription, but if the FCC approves the application, more information won’t be available for some time.


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