SpaceX and T-Mobile partner up to link satellites to cell phones

Ending cellular dead zones in the U.S. is the ultimate goal.


By: Yusuf Lashin, Journalist

Cellular service provider T-Mobile has teamed up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to provide universal coverage using the constellation of Starlink satellites, a press release reveals.

Cellular services have gone through many iterations since their first roll-out. Most countries around the world are currently seeing a roll-out of the fifth generation (5G) of mobile connections that allows the bandwidth for high-speed gaming and streaming high-definition videos.

Yet, many parts of the U.S. mainland and across the globe are network dead zones, where not even one service provider is available to provide basic telephony services. These areas can only be served by satellite phones (satphones) with high subscription fees. This is something SpaceX and T-Mobile plan to eliminate with their recent announcement.

What can Tesla users expect next?

With SpaceX rolling out services for T-Mobile, Tesla users were interested in knowing whether similar services would be rolled out for their electric vehicles that currently use AT&T’s LTE network. To this, Elon Musk responded, yes.

While Musk did not go into finer details of how this would work out, The Verge reported that the services could be rolled out as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which uses multiple carriers as its backbone.

Alternatively, Tesla could switch its carrier to T-Mobile. T-Mobile has reached out to other cellular network carriers to work with it through reciprocal roaming arrangements to provide global connectivity to users.

Over the years, Tesla has been scaling back the standard connectivity packages it offers with its electric vehicles. Some Telsa users need to upgrade their connectivity packages to Premium by paying $9.99 a month or $99 a year to run services or features that aren’t covered by the standard plan.



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