Space X And T-Mobile Bringing Satellite Connectivity To Smartphones

Satellite Phones
Credit: Steve Jurvetson / Wiki Commons

Space X and T-Mobile are currently working on a project aimed at eliminating cellular dead zones in the US. The two companies plan to achieve this by creating a connection between T-Mobile’s cellular infrastructure with SpaceX Starlink Satellites.

When making this announcement, Elon Musk assured everyone that the next generation of Starlink Satellites would be able to connect directly with phones without any extra hardware required. So, users will have access from dead zones using their current smartphones.

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The Short And Long-Term Plans

The collaboration between the two companies will enable users to make calls, send text messages, and potentially stream videos in areas that don’t have cell towers.

However, the first version of this network will mainly be for making emergency calls and sending text messages. Streaming videos and browsing the internet will likely be a feature that could be rolled out later on as the infrastructure develops the capacity to handle larger bandwidths.

Starlink’s main mission has always been giving everyone access to the internet, no matter their location. Currently, the only way you can use Starlink’s satellite internet is by buying and installing their satellite dish on top of your roof.

Starlink Hardware

Starlink dishes cost around $599, and the price can increase depending on your location. You will also have to pay a monthly subscription fee of $110 per month to get the connectivity.

It should be noted that some people stay in cities and only visit areas with no cellular connection once in a while. For these people, installing the expensive Starlink hardware that they will only use for just a few days in a year doesn’t make sense:

However, merging satellite with cellular without the need for any extra hardware is something many people that constantly travel to remote areas will appreciate.

Apple’s Rumored Satellite Feature

Apple is also rumored to announce a satellite feature at an upcoming iPhones event. The only difference is that the rumored iPhone feature will require upgrading to the latest iPhone. In contrast, T-Mobile and SpaceX’s version doesn’t need any hardware upgrades on the consumer’s side.