While we recover from New Year festivities, SpaceX is already checking off things on its 2024 list. SpaceX recently shared photos on X stating that six Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capability will be launched into orbit soon.
“SpaceX is leveraging its experience in manufacturing [and] launching the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft to deploy Starlink satellites with the Direct to Cell capability at scale,” notes SpaceX.
“Direct to Cell satellites will initially be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and then Starship. On orbit, the satellites will immediately connect over laser backhaul to the Starlink constellation to provide global connectivity.”
This will allow for mobile phone connectivity anywhere on Earth.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 3, 2024
Note, this only supports ~7Mb per beam and the beams are very big, so while this is a great solution for locations with no cellular connectivity, it is not meaningfully competitive with existing terrestrial… https://t.co/ymHpw8XBHl
SpaceX aims to provide seamless access to text, voice, and data for LTE phones across the globe, enabling customers to access those services anywhere, regardless of location. According to the aerospace company, Direct to Cell will connect IoT devices with common LTE standards. SpaceX aims to make Direct to Cell work with existing LTE phones with no changes to hardware, firmware, or requirements to download a special app, making it easier for customers to use.
“This will allow for mobile connectivity anywhere on Earth,” Elon Musk elaborated.
SpaceX already has plans set in place for Direct to Cell services. In 2024, it will launch Direct to Cell texting services. SpaceX aims to launch Direct to Cell voice and Data and IoT services by 2025.
In 2022, Tesla announced a partnership with T-Mobile to end mobile dead zones. Through the partnership, T-Mobile announced the Coverage Above & Beyond plan. Since then, SpaceX’s Direct to Cell has access has grown to include cellular providers in other countries like Optus in Australia, Rogers in Canada, KDDI in Japan, SALT in Switzerland, and ENTEL in Chile.