SpaceX and T-Mobile today announced that sometime next year T-Mobile cell phones will use the Starlink satellite constellation to fill in any dead zones in its cell coverage.
T-Mobile says it’s getting rid of mobile dead zones thanks to a new partnership with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet, at an event hosted by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert and Elon Musk. With their “Coverage Above and Beyond” setup, mobile phones could connect to satellites and use a slice of a connection providing around 2 to 4 Megabits per second connection (total) across a given coverage area.
That connection should be enough to let you text, send MMS messages, and even use “select messaging apps” whenever you have a clear view of the sky, even if there’s no traditional service available. According to a press release from T-Mobile, the “satellite-to-cellular service” will be available “everywhere in the continental US, Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial waters.” The service is scheduled to launch in beta by the end of next year in “select areas,” and Sievert says he hopes it will someday include data.
The system will require Starlink’s second generation satellites, which right now also require SpaceX’s big Starship for launch. Once operational however it will work on the cell phones customers already own.