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T-Mobile and Musk’s SpaceX intend to link mobile devices to satellites

T-Mobile unveiled plans on Thursday to link customers’ mobile phones directly to satellites in orbit by using Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to give mobile users network access in certain portions of the US.

Musk announced the new plans at a flashy event on Thursday at his company’s south Texas rocket facility. The new plans, which would coexist with T-current mobile’s cellular services, would do away with the need for cell towers and offer service for sending texts and images where cell coverage is not currently available, key for emergency situations in remote areas.

T-Mobile’s mid-band spectrum will be used by Starlink’s satellites to build a new network. The majority of the company’s customers’ phones will be compatible with the new service, which will launch with messaging services by the end of next year in a beta phase.

In comparison to competitors OneWeb and Amazon.com Inc.’s Project Kuiper, SpaceX has launched nearly 3,000 low-Earth orbiting Starlink satellites since 2019. When completely constructed, SpaceX’s next-generation Starship rocket will launch the first of its next-generation Starlink satellites, which will have larger antennae that will enable direct communication to mobile phones on the T-mobile network, according to Musk.

“We are constructing a special antenna.  They are truly very large, highly advanced antenna, he explained. The crucial point is that you won’t need to purchase a new phone. Your current phone will function.

In the meantime, US telecommunications companies are racing to expand the mid-band component of their 5G networks in order to catch up with T-Mobile, which acquired a sizable 2.5 GHz of mid-band spectrum by purchasing rival Sprint. Because it offers a fair combination of capacity and coverage, mid-band, also known as C-Band, has proven to be the ideal band for 5G. After the messaging services beta phase, the carrier stated that it intends to pursue voice and data coverage.

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