SpaceX will change the world of mobile communications by connecting conventional smartphones to Starlink satellites

SpaceX will change the world of mobile communications by connecting conventional smartphones to Star

The head of SpaceX, Ilon Mask, announced a project in which it would address the problem of "dead zones" in cellular networks — the company would connect conventional smartphones to satellite communications where traditional cellular communications were simply not available. SpaceX would be willing to do so worldwide, but would start with the United States, together with the cellular operator T-Mobile, as part of the Coverage Above and Beyond project.

It is noted that despite the rapid growth of 4G/LTE and 5G networks, more than half a million square miles of land in the United States alone are left without cellular communication, and as many as 90% of the Earth's surface is not covered by a cellular network, a new initiative is designed to eliminate these dead areas: users can exchange data almost anywhere in the sky.

The essence of the SpaceX project is the development of a new network based on SpaceX Starlink v2 satellites in low-Earth orbit, starting next year.

In the case of a partnership with T-Mobile, the operator intends to provide medium-range cellular frequencies to clients almost everywhere in the U.S., Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and territorial waters, even outside the coverage of his network.

In the future, SpaceX technology will be available to interested companies on a global scale. The company is already inviting mobile operators from around the world to work together. In fact, it is a system that will change the world of mobile communications. In most cases, it will not be necessary to acquire new equipment for the use of the Starlink transmission service, a smartphone that is sufficiently available. Moreover, users do not even need to carry out additional activities, whether they install new embroidery or applications.

There are, however, some limitations: the first stage will only be about 2–4 Mbit/s. Therefore, the partners initially arrange for text messages only, including through the Messengers; however, there are plans to add voice communication and Internet access in the future.

The system can operate without access to the full constellation of Starlink satellites. This is about "continuous" coverage, so let's say users have to wait until about half an hour to send a message. One way or another, the system will solve the problem of lack of communication in remote and hard-to-reach regions. This is critical in emergency situations, in rescue operations, in information transmission from various sensors, etc. The service will be tested by the end of next year.

Starlink satellite communications will be inexpensive. The most popular T-Mobile tariff plan users will be provided with satellite connectivity free of charge. Satellite cellular communications will also be added for emergencies to Tesla vehicles. Starlink currently has 2,800 low-orbit satellites. Its average Internet speed in the United States and Canada is 90-100 Mbit/s.