SpaceX new Direct to Cell cellular service
According to the website, the service would initially only allow text messaging in 2024, while the service with phone and data functions will be available in 2025, along with support for IoT devices.
In addition to enabling connection for IoT devices, this will allow “ubiquitous access to texting, calling, and browsing wherever you may be on land, lakes, or coastal waters,” says Starlink.
To provide cellular connectivity for devices that have not been modified, the system will use the growing Starlink satellite network in Earth’s orbit. SpaceX first stated a year ago that it hoped to start the service with collaborator T-Mobile later this year. However, the business has kept quiet about the development ever since.
The goal was to start with “practically everywhere in the continental US,” plus Hawaii, sections of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and US territorial waterways, and then expand by adding additional global carriers in the future.
“Direct to Cell works with existing LTE phones wherever you can see the sky,” says SpaceX’s new website. Text, speech, and data are all accessible without the need for any hardware, firmware, or specialized application adjustments.
The service appears to be set to compete with Apple’s own satellite-based Emergency SOS feature for iPhones, as well as AST Space Mobile, which is also aiming to bring cellular satellite connectivity to unmodified phones next year.
A Starlink satellite may become a “cellphone tower in space, allowing network integration similar to a standard roaming partner,” according to the new Starlink Direct to Cell website, which adds that SpaceX intends to outfit the company’s satellites with an “advanced eNodeB modem.”
The website also wants to establish partnerships with other cellular service providers. Companies may get in touch with SpaceX regarding growing their mobile networks using the contact form on the website. The brand-new Starlink Direct to Cell page debuts at the same time as SpaceX updates the official Starlink.com website’s complete look.
Stay tuned for incoming information and updates!