October 7, 2022

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Elon Musk announces that Starlink will provide dead zone coverage for T-Mobile

Elon Musk announces that Starlink will provide dead zone coverage for T-Mobile

T-Mobile says it’s getting rid of mobile dead zones thanks to a new partnership with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internetin Event Hosted by T-Mobile CEO Mike Seifert and Elon Musk. With their “Coverage Above and Beyond” setting, cell phones can connect to satellites and use a SIM that provides 2-4 Mbps (total) connectivity over a given coverage area.

According to Musk, Starlink 2nd generation satellites The service will launch next year to be able to stream the service using part of T-Mobile’s mid-range PCS spectrum, which was boosted when it was Sprint was allowed to buy a few years ago. Musk said the new satellites have “big, big antennas” ranging from 5 to 6 meters wide to enable the new connections and that the plan is to launch the equipment with Next Starship rocket.

The company says it will let you text, send MMS, and even use “select messaging apps” when you have a clear view of the sky, even if there’s no traditional service available. according to Press release from T-Mobile“satellite-to-cell service” will be available “everywhere in the continental United States, Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and territorial waters.”

“If there aren’t too many people in the area of ​​the cells, you should probably have a little video,” Musk said. As described by Sievert, operators of messaging apps like WhatsApp or iMessage will need to work with T-Mobile and Starlink for their services to recognize and work with the satellite’s connection once it is launched.

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Musk further elaborated by saying that, unlike a regular internet service, it can operate without access to Starlink’s entire satellite constellation. By limiting it to certain messages and services, as well as only in places where there is currently no cellular connection, it can use an intermittent connection for “basic” coverage, although you may have to wait up to 30 minutes for the message to come through.

The executives said they are seeking partnerships with mobile carriers around the world who may be interested in mutual spectrum exchange agreements so that their customers can link to SpaceX. T-Mobile customers can also use these connections when they come to other countries.

musk too He said on Twitter that one of his other companies, Tesla, will use the technology to Premium calling feature in its electric cars. Currently, Tesla uses the AT&T network for things like live traffic visualization, satellite view maps, and music streaming.

Musk said the service may work even while your phone is in your pocket or in the car.
Photo: SpaceX

The service will be launched in beta by the end of next year in “select regions,” and Seifert says he hopes it will one day include data. He says That when it launches, T-Mobile’s “vision” is to include it for free in the carrier’s “most popular plans,” though he said today’s event isn’t an official announcement. He said T-Mobile wants to make it available to people with “low-cost” plans for a lower “monthly service fee” than existing satellite calling services. (This likely includes a wide price range – Garmin’s InReach Satellite Subscription Plans(For example, start at $14.95/month but work up to $64.95/month.)

T-Mobile says subscribers’ existing phones will be able to tap into the network – without the need for special equipment. As Elon Musk said in the ad: “The phone you currently have will work.”

T-Mobile CEO Mike Seifert and Chief Engineer Elon Musk at SpaceX

T-Mobile CEO Mike Seifert and Chief Engineer Elon Musk at SpaceX
Photo: SpaceX

The fact that it uses a conventional cell spectrum is a double-edged sword. The lack of need for special equipment is an obvious advantage, but T-Mobile does not own the rights to this worldwide spectrum. So, while SpaceX satellites can technically communicate with phones internationally, T-Mobile may not have rights to the same ranges that its system uses when you take your phone to another country or in international waters.

This is not the case for traditional satellite communications networks, such as the Iridium system used by Garmin. If phone manufacturers want to offer their own version of this feature, there is something It is rumored that Apple is working onPartnering with other satellite service providers can give them more coverage than T-Mobile plans to offer.

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

Battles over spectrum rights can get messy and have already happened. T-Mobile and Verizon have Pressure on the Federal Communications Commission To prevent a company called AST & Science from launching satellites that could provide mobile service from space, claiming that its system could interfere with its terrestrial networks. SpaceX is Involved in battle With Dish Networks above the 12GHz spectrum, which the latter wants to use for terrestrial 5G networks. Musk has warned home netizens that using a 12GHz dish can do just that destroying satellite internet. Analysts even questioned whether the service announced today would require additional approvals from the Federal Communications Commission.

Seifert also said that T-Mobile was “open” to the possibility of SpaceX using its network in the future, especially in rural areas. While this is just a few steps away from what the two companies are offering now (again, Musk says each cell will support about 2-4 megabits), it could help make expanding its network less expensive for the carrier. Such a plan would be similar to What Verizon announced In cooperation with Amazon’s Kuiper satellite Internet project, although this plan seems much further From the fruition, as it appears that Amazon hasn’t launched any of its satellites yet.

Earlier this year, SpaceX Lost bid for rural Internet subsidies because of Equipment cost. But if he can do without T-Mobile’s current gear, which people in rural areas may already have, it might help its case with the FCC. Thursday’s show definitely hit rural coverage, with Videos of people in remote gardensor mountains or grazing.

Update 10:15 PM ET: Adding information about where the service will be able to cover, as well as Tesla’s use of premium connectivity in its cars.