Aug. 25 (Reuters) – U.S. wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) is using Elon Musk’s SpaceX-owned Starlink satellites to provide mobile users with access to the network in parts of the United States, the two companies announced on Monday. Thursday, stating plans. To connect users’ mobile phones directly to satellites in orbit.
Musk said the new plans, which will exist alongside T-mobile’s existing cellular services, will eliminate the need for cell towers and provide service for sending texts and pictures where there is currently no cellular coverage, key for emergencies in remote areas. A bright event Thursday at his company’s South Texas missile facility.
Starlink satellites will use T-Mobile’s mid-band spectrum to create a new network. Most of the phones used by the company’s customers will be compatible with the new service, which will start with text messaging services in a beta phase, starting by the end of next year.
SpaceX has launched nearly 3,000 Earth-orbiting Starlink satellites since 2019, handily beating rivals OneWeb and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) Project Kuiper.
Musk said SpaceX’s next-generation Starlink satellites, the first of which are planned to be launched on SpaceX’s next-generation Starship rocket whenever fully developed, will have larger antennas that allow direct communication with cellphones on the T-Mobile network.
“We’re building a special antenna… It’s actually a very large, very advanced antenna,” he said. “The important thing is that you don’t need to get a new phone. The one you already have will work.”
Meanwhile, US carriers are in a race to build up the mid-range portion of their 5G networks to catch up with T-Mobile, which got 2.5GHz of mid-band spectrum thanks to the purchase of rival Sprint.
Mid-band or C-Band proves to be ideal for 5G, as it offers a good balance of capacity and coverage.
The carrier said it aims to continue voice and data coverage after the beta phase of its text messaging services.
Satellite communications company AST SpaceMobile Inc (ASTS.O) is also building a global cellular broadband network in space that will work with mobile devices without the need for additional hardware.
Additional reporting by Joey Roulette in Washington and Akash Sriram and Eva Matthews in Bengaluru; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler
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