Starlink shares demo of first-ever Direct to Cell satellite video call

Credit: Starlink/X

Despite still being in its testing phase, it appears that Starlink’s Direct to Cell service for mobile phones is already working. This was demonstrated recently by the private space firm when it shared a video of the first-ever video call that was completed using Starlink’s Direct to Cell satellite technology. 

The demo of Starlink’s Direct to Cell satellites, which seemed to have been held at the company’s office complex in Redmond, Washington, was posted on social media platform X. As could be seen in the clip, an X video call was made between two mobile phones, one using a terrestrial internet connection and the other using Starlink’s Direct to Cell satellites. 

“First video call on X completed through Starlink Direct to Cell satellites from unmodified mobile phones!” Starlink wrote in its post on X. 

While the image quality of the call itself was quite grainy, the demonstration remains quite impressive. As noted in a PCMag report, SpaceX so far has only 38 Starlink Direct to Cell satellites in service as of last week. Back in January, there were only six of the cellular satellites in service. Despite the few number of Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities, however, a test conducted in March showed the system delivering download speeds of up to 17 Mbps to an unmodified Android smartphone. 

Plans are underway to launch Starlink’s Direct to Cell service to T-Mobile customers in the United States later this year. This should allow T-Mobile users to gain connectivity even in remote areas where traditional cell towers are unavailable. Of course, SpaceX would still need to wait for FCC approval before such a service could be rolled out in the United States. With this in mind, the recent demonstration on X may be part of SpaceX’s efforts to convince regulators that its Direct to Cell solution is a viable service. 

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Starlink shares demo of first-ever Direct to Cell satellite video call
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