SpaceX has recently launched a new webpage to raise awareness about its upcoming service called “Starlink Direct to Cell.” This innovative service aims to provide cellular connectivity via satellite to users with existing LTE phones. With Starlink Direct to Cell, SpaceX is revolutionizing the way individuals stay connected, even in remote areas where traditional cellular networks may be limited. According to PCMag, the newly launched website will offer limited texting services starting in 2024. Voice and data functionality will be introduced in 2025, along with support for IoT devices.
According to SpaceX’s website, their technology called “Direct to Cell” enables communication using existing LTE phones. This means that as long as you have a clear view of the sky, you can use this service without any need for hardware or firmware modifications, or downloading special apps. It allows for seamless access to text messaging, voice calls, and data transmission.
Last year, Elon Musk’s space company revealed its intentions to launch a new service in collaboration with US partner T-Mobile. While the speeds of this service may be considered relatively slow compared to terrestrial standards, estimated between two and four megabits per second, its key advantage lies in providing extensive coverage. According to T-Mobile’s press release from the previous year, their service will be accessible in a wide range of locations. This includes practically all areas in the continental US, Hawaii, certain parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and territorial waters. It is noteworthy that their coverage extends beyond the limits of T-Mobile’s network signal.
In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the use of satellite connectivity for smartphones. Apple has also incorporated this trend by introducing an Emergency SOS feature on their phones. This feature allows users of iPhone 14 devices and newer models to send limited messages and location information via satellite during emergency situations. It provides users with an added layer of safety and peace of mind when they need it most. Recently, AST SpaceMobile, a cellular satellite company supported by AT&T, achieved a significant milestone by successfully making the first satellite call over 5G using an unmodified smartphone. This development demonstrates the progress made in mobile technology and paves the way for enhanced connectivity capabilities in remote areas or regions with limited infrastructure.