T-Mobile phones will connect to SpaceX Starlink satellites late next year. T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert announced Coverage above and beyonda technology alliance between T-Mobile and SpaceX.
“That’s amazing because it’s a lot like putting a cell tower in the sky, only a lot harder,” Sievert told the crowd at the SpaceX, T-Mobile event.
He explained that for coverage, a portion of T-Mobile’s mid-band PCS spectrum would be integrated into Starlink satellites launched next year. Sievert explained that Coverage above and beyond it will enter beta late next year, starting with text, MMS, and select messaging apps. T-Mobile will continue to work with SpaceX to expand services in the future.
The SpaceX and T-Mobile collaboration seeks to end mobile dead zones in the United States, and perhaps even around the world. Sievert also stated that the company is looking to work with carriers around the world for the services. T-Mobile encourages other carriers to offer reciprocal roaming with other carriers around the world. Reciprocal roaming will allow US citizens to stay connected inside and outside the United States, and the same for people abroad traveling to the country.
The best part of T-Mobile’s Starlink connected service is the price. It’s likely to be free for the most popular T-Mobile plans. For low-cost plans that may not include Coverage above and beyond, T-Mobile expects to charge customers a monthly service fee. Sievert claimed that the fee would cost much less than fees charged for satellite connectivity services.
Stay connected during natural disasters
Teslarati reporter Johnna Crider spoke with Elon Musk during his interview about using Starlink services during natural disasters. “When we had Ida, I had no electricity for a week. When the hurricane hit, communications and southeastern Louisiana were completely flattened. We were using, I forgot the name of the app, but the Cajun Navy uses it to rescue people,” she told Musk.
“Starlink would definitely help organizations like the Cajun Navy and others just to be able to communicate better, especially with the government. [agencies, I meant to say]. And not only in my area but also in other areas. It would be great to see something like this installed on your phone to keep people connected.” Crider added.
Elon Musk responded by saying, “Certainly one’s phone is capable of behaving at least as a short-range walkie-talkie, even if it’s not connected to the internet in any way. Basically, we could create a WiFi bridge.”
During the SpaceX + T-Mobile update event, Elon Musk mentioned that the new service is useful during natural disasters. “Even if an entire region or country were to lose connectivity due to a severe hurricane, floods, fires, tornadoes…earthquakes, obviously there are so many natural disasters. Even if all cell phone towers were removed, your phone would still work.”
Check out the full event from T-Mobile and SpaceX below!
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