SpaceX and T-Mobile to provide connection to Starlink from mobile devices

SpaceX and mobile operator T-Mobile have announced that starting next year, Starlink will be available to customers of this network directly from their mobile phones. This opportunity will be provided by second-generation satellites.

Elon Musk and Mike Sievert talk about the prospects of cooperation

Connecting to Starlink from a mobile phone

Mobile operator T-Mobile announced on August 25 that direct connection to Starlink satellites in the United States will be possible for its customers from next year. Moreover, this service will be available even outside the coverage of the towers.

This opportunity has appeared thanks to the technical partnership between T-Mobile and SpaceX and the second-generation Starlink satellites. The beta version of the service may appear at the end of next year. This was stated by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. He stressed that, for its part, his company would cede part of its radio range to transmit signals from Elon Musk’s satellites in it.

Second generation Starlink

The second-generation Starlink satellites will be completely different from what is being used now. They will have antennas with an area of 25 sq. m. Therefore, they will not fit on board the Falcon 9 rocket. Elon Musk plans to launch them using his super-heavy Starship. And it has its own problems.

The fact is that in June, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that SpaceX should implement dozens of measures in order to mitigate the impact of Starship on the environment. And only then will it be allowed to launch from the launch pad in Texas. The second-generation satellites themselves are waiting for permission.

Elon Musk has already stated that if the decision on Starship is delayed, he will revise the design of the second-generation satellites so that they can fit on the Falcon 9. However, whether in this case it will be possible to connect to them from the phone, he did not say.

Foreign partners and competitors

Representatives of both companies emphasize that the system will not be able to replace the ground network of cellular towers. It is designed for much smaller amounts of information transfer. However, it can be used as a safety net in case of failure of the ground infrastructure.

The possibility of providing a connection to Starlink from a phone in other countries is being considered. According to Sievert, they are ready to form an alliance with any national operator that will be interested in this technology. The main condition is the allocation of a part of the operating range for transmitting Starlink signals.

However, such an alliance may meet serious resistance within the United States.He threatens the AST SpaceMobile and Lynk Global projects, which are building their satellite mobile communication networks. Their first satellites should also start working in orbit at the end of 2023.

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