SpaceX expected to test satellite-to-cellular service this year

SpaceX expected to test satellite-to-cellular service this year

SpaceX expected to test satellite-to-cellular service this year

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A SpaceX executive said Monday the company will begin testing satellite-to-cellular communications this year, which would include operating on T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile announced in August that its mobile network dead zones would be covered by SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, but it didn’t say when that would happen.

At the 2023 Satellite Conference and Expo, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Enterprise Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, made the comment during a panel. The tests will include satellite-to-cellular service with T-Mobile, CNBC reported.

While it’s still unclear when T-Mobile customers will be able to get Starlink coverage, this is the first update since the carrier launched its SpaceX partnership. That could mean they’ve got the lead, as it’s unclear when AT&T’s network will be augmented by satellite provider AST Mobile, and Verizon’s chosen partner – Amazon’s Project Kuiper – has yet to launch. satellite in orbit.

Participants at the satellite conference roundtable were reportedly optimistic about the growth of satellite-to-cellular communications despite few consumers benefiting from the technology. iPhone 14 users are among the only smartphone owners who can use satellite communications using Apple’s Emergency SOS service. Samsung has its own solution in the works, although the phone maker hasn’t announced which satellite network it will partner with.

Starlink has grown to “well over a million users”, Hofeller saidand SpaceX is building six next-generation satellites a day to add to the constellation of about 4,000 satellites currently orbiting the planet.

Iridium CEO Matt Desch, who was also on the panel, touted the company’s partnership with Qualcomm for its upcoming Snapdragon Satellite service, as well as its “evolution plan beyond the single cell” to service computers and cars, CNBC reported.

T-Mobile declined to comment on SpaceX’s Starlink tests and did not give a timeline for when satellite coverage will be added to its mobile network. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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