Starlink’s satellite cellular service is scheduled to launch in 2024, but for SMS only

Starlink’s long-awaited satellite cellular service, Direct-to-Cell, will reportedly begin rolling out for SMS in 2024, according to A newly published promotional website by the company. Ultimately, the system will “enable ubiquitous access to texting, calling and browsing wherever you are on land, lakes or coastal waters,” and connect to IoT devices through the LTE standard.

Starlink has partnered with T-Mobile on the project, which was originally announced last August at its “Coverage and Before and Beyond” event. The collaboration sees T-Mobile set aside a portion of its 5G spectrum for use by Starlink’s second-generation satellites; Starlink, in turn, will allow T-Mobile phones to access the satellite network, giving the cellular service provider “Almost complete coverage” from the United States.

During the event last August, SpaceX CEO said Elon Musk tweeted “Starlink V2” will be launched this year on selected mobile phones, And also in Tesla cars. “The important thing about this is that it means there are no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phone,” Musk said. He said in a press statement on time. “We are very excited to do this with T-Mobile.” This estimate was revised during a panel discussion in March at the conference Satellite Conference and Exhibition 2023when Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s vice president of Starlink enterprise sales, estimated Testing – but not commercial operation – will begin in 2023.

The current constellation of 4,265 satellites is not compatible with the new cellular service, so Starlink will have to launch a whole new series of small satellites, with the necessary eNodeB modem installed, over the next few years. As more satellites are launched, additional voice and data features will become available.

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As a satellite-only messaging service, Direct-to-Cell will immediately find competition from Apple, with iOS 14’s Satellite Emergency SOS feature, as well as Qualcomm’s rival Snapdragon Satellite, which delivers text messages to Android phones From orbit using Iridium. constellation. Competition is expected to be fierce in this emerging market, Lynk Global CEO Charles Miller noted during the March event, arguing that satellite cell service could be “the largest category in satellite.”

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