SpaceX teams up with T-Mobile to fill cellular dead spots with Starlink
SpaceX is looking to expand the reach of its Starlink internet service, through a new partnership with T-Mobile. The collaboration will see the telecommunications giant's wireless network combine with orbiting satellites to fill holes in its current coverage, with the first users expected to come online late next year.
In 2019, SpaceX began firing Starlink satellites into space with the aim of building a vast constellation that can blanket the globe in high-speed internet. It has continued building out this constellation piece by piece, while rolling out the service to users in select regions here on the ground, and in the air.
Called "Coverage Above and Beyond," the new service will transmit from Starlink satellites directly to the user's cellphone, and will allow for speeds of 2-4 Mbps so long as they can see the sky. SpaceX says the system is designed to work without needing modifications to existing handsets.
The idea is to "eliminate dead zones worldwide," in the words of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. But to begin with, the service will be offered to beta users in selected areas by the end of next year. From there, SpaceX and T-Mobile plan to offer the service to customers everywhere in the continental US, Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial waters.
SpaceX is also hoping other carriers around the world will join in to expand the service to the entire globe.