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T-Mobile Teams with SpaceX for Satellite Coverage Using Existing Phones

Article Comments  4  

Aug 25, 2022, 7:40 PM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome
updated Aug 26, 2022, 11:52 AM

T-Mobile and SpaceX today announced a partnership to provide 100% coverage across the US and "vast" parts of oceans using SpaceX's next generation of Starlink satellites, which will be able to connect directly to existing cell phones. The service will use a dedicated "small slice" of the PCS band (the G block of band 25, which is 1910–1915 MHz for uplink and 1990–1995 MHz for downlink). The initial service will be limited to text messaging, MMS, and select third-party messaging apps. A beta version of the service is expected to be available late next year. Eventually, T-Mobile hopes to expand the service to general data as well as voice. The technology is enabled by new, much larger phased-array antennas that will be included on upcoming Starlink 2.0 satellites that could start launching by the end of this year. Current SpaceX lab tests show the service able to offer "2–4 Mbit per cell zone." T-Mobile plans to offer the service for free on its "most popular" plans, and for a small fee on lower plans. T-Mobile expressed interest in offering "reciprocal" roaming with other carriers, and SpaceX expressed interest in offering the service to other carriers around the world. AST SpaceMobile is working to launch its own new satellites that will provide a similar service. SpaceX is also launching AST's satellites.

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rwalford79

Aug 28, 2022, 11:21 PM

Doubtful

I doubt this will ever really come to fruition. Telstra Australia did something like this with either Iridium or Thuraya a decade ago as well. Use your regular cellphone in desolate places if there was a satellite signal (but it was not a satellite phone). It failed miserably. They moved to all satellite network for those areas instead of just expanding coverage. The latency on satellite is way too great to make it of real use outside a few texts and some calls - but with only 5Mhz of PCS spectrum being used there is absolutely no way to offer data to the masses with that. There is not going to be some automatic satellite connectivity and using that network over the land based T-Mobile network unless you are completely out of the coverage ar...
(continues)
I guess we shall see. I'm betting that SpaceX has deeper pockets abd greater capabilities to accomplish this than some network that failed a decade ago in Australia.
I guess we shall see. I'm betting that SpaceX has deeper pockets and greater capabilities to accomplish this than some network that failed a decade ago in Australia.
gloopey1

Aug 25, 2022, 7:59 PM

Game Changer

If this works as advertised, this will be a game changer. No more being stuck in the middle of nowhere without a way to communicate or request help.
 
 
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