SpaceX to Start Testing Direct-to-Phone Starlink Service This Year
Mar 14, 2023, 10:36 AM by Rich Brome
A SpaceX executive has confirmed that — this year — the company plans to "start getting into testing" its new service that will let regular cell phones connect directly to its next-generation Starlink satellites. SpaceX announced plans for the service last year and a partnership with T-Mobile to offer the service in the US. In the US, the service will use a small, unique frequency band called the G block of band 25 (1910–1915 MHz for uplink and 1990–1995 MHz for downlink). T-Mobile has exclusive nationwide rights to that band in the US. Existing T-Mobile phones are compatible with the band, and setting it aside exclusively for satellite use should avoid conflicts with land-based networks. The service for phones requires new second-generation Starlink satellites with larger antennas. SpaceX intends to launch most 2nd-gen. satellites on its new Starship rocket, but has already started launching a "mini" version of the new satellites on its existing Falcon 9 rockets. It's unclear if the "mini" version includes the larger antennas necessary for service to phones.
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