It’s the team-up we didn’t know we needed: T-Mobile x SpaceX. There are 500,000 square miles of the US and large areas of the ocean without cellular coverage from any operator.
To expand its cellular network to the most rural regions of the nation, US mobile carrier T-Mobile has teamed up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite project.
According to T-Mobile, its 5G network now has 315 million US customers. 225 million of whom can use its fastest “Ultra Capacity 5G” service. Later this year, and 300 million in 2023, the latter number is anticipated to rise.
T-Mobile x SpaceX
There are technical and financial difficulties in some places, such as deserts and mountain ranges. While land-use regulations forbid the construction of towers in national parks.
One option to keep connected in such places has been via satellite phones. But these are pricey and employ antiquated technology. Fixed connectivity can now be replaced by a new generation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. These offer considerable improvements in speed, capacity, and low latency.
Customers of T-Mobile will automatically connect to SpaceX’s constellation of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites known as “Starlink” as of next year whenever they are outside the range of a terrestrial signal. Customers’ first capabilities will be limited to texting and using messaging apps. Voice and data coverage will be introduced later.
The network will be compatible with existing radio technology, notably T-mid-band Mobile’s spectrum. This is essential because it means that it will function with current devices.
“We’ve always thought differently about what it means to keep customers connected, and that’s why we’re working with the best to deliver coverage above and beyond anything [that] customers have ever seen before,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “More than just a groundbreaking alliance, this represents two industry-shaking innovators challenging the old ways of doing things to create something entirely new.”
“The important thing about this is that it means there are no dead zones anywhere in the world for your [mobile] phone,” said SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk. “We’re incredibly excited to do this with T-Mobile.”