SpaceX and T-Mobile said they would be hosting a significant event yesterday. Musk has marketed the event as something exceptional and significant, and speculation was rife has speculated on Twitter as to what the major reveal may be. As T-Mobile and Starlink announced Coverage Above and Beyond, a direct Starlink connection to current phones that will deliver cellular service anywhere in the world, regardless of how close you are to any cell tower, it is now evident that the announcement matches up to those expectations.
SpaceX began their presentation by emphasizing the importance of communication because only 20% of the US can be reached by conventional wireless networks. High-speed internet is delivered to those areas via Starlinks main terminals, although they are big, expensive, and need a clear line of sight to the entire sky.
T-most Mobile’s recent step is to integrate its current mid-band PCS spectrum into the Starlink V2 satellites that could launch as early as next year in an effort to completely remove mobile dead zones. As a result, phones won’t need to be modified in any way in order to connect directly to satellites. This will enable the transmission of MMS and SMS text messages, as well as voice and tiny amounts of data, over the entire world. Additionally, T-Mobile stated that it would offer this service as part of its basic plans at no added or increased cost.
There will only be two to four megabits of bandwidth available each cellular zone, making the speeds and connectivity far more constrained than those of full-size terminals or typical 4G or 5G connectivity. Although it is moving extremely slowly, this collaboration will offer vital connectivity when required. Of course, powerful and huge antennas are required in orbit to connect to such small antennas on the ground. The second-generation Starlink satellites, which are scheduled to fly aboard SpaceX’s Starship rocket, will include this. The Ku and Ka-band antennas for SpaceX’s Starlink terminals, as well as the laser links that enable quick satellite-to-satellite communication, will be joined by these new antennas for T-spectrum. Mobile’s The cellular antennae will fold out from the larger V2 Starlink satellite’s main body and measure about 25 square meters. Musk also made it clear that V2 Starlink satellites won’t fly on Falcon 9, but if Starship is delayed longer than anticipated, a temporary satellite might fit into the rocket’s smaller fairing.
This won’t go live for a while; the earliest planned connectivity is late in 2023. While this partnership is between SpaceX and T-Mobile, the two organizations also discussed aspirational plans for reciprocal roaming, whereby other carriers would share portions of their spectrum for use on Starlink satellites in order to provide mobile satellite connectivity to as many people as possible in as many places.
Although it doesn’t currently have any concrete plans, T-Mobile also stated in answer to a press query that it is open to adopting Starlink for some of its data backhaul. Even more rural locations might benefit from higher-speed data if Starlink were used for backhaul.
Although there were rumors that Apple would add a satellite connection to the iPhone before the release of the iPhone 13 and again with the iPhone 14, because these satellites use existing bands, no additional hardware or software will be required; existing iPhone and Android devices will work directly with satellite connectivity.