SpaceX to start Direct-to-Cell Satellite Service

SpaceX says that it will start a direct-to-cell satellite communication service in 2024 that will enable text messaging 2024 via Starlink constellation. The Elon Musk-headed aerospace company has outlined the plans for this ambitious project on its official website. The service will connect LTE devices to Starlink Satellites.

SpaceX has struck a partnership with the US telco T-Mobile to bring satellite service to users. The plan involves offering connectivity in areas where cellular networks are not available (dead zones). Outside the US, the company is also increasing its footprint.

spacex direct-to-cell diagram
From SpaceX

Starlink has partnerships signed with Rogers in Canada, Optus in Australia, One NZ in New Zealand, etc. In its first phase of the plan, SpaceX mentions that its direct-to-cell satellite service will provide text service beginning in 2024. The company plans to roll out voice and data services via Starlink satellites and IoT services in 2025. Also read: Starlink Maritime to bring its satellite internet to boats

The SpaceX website says that Starlink satellites will employ an eNodeB modem that works “like a cellphone tower in space, allowing network integration similar to a standard roaming partner.”  SpaceX says that the service will first be a Falcon 9, followed by Starship. “On orbit, the satellites will immediately connect over laser backhaul to the Starlink constellation to provide global connectivity.” 

To operate its satellite services, SpaceX will use partner spectrum in respective countries.

Leave a Comment