SpaceX published a New web page To promote the upcoming “Starlink Direct to Cell” service that plans to bring cellular connectivity to “existing LTE phones” via satellite. The site that PCMag Reports Launched earlier this week, it indicates that the service will initially be limited to text messaging services in 2024, with voice and data functionality to follow in 2025, along with support for IoT devices.
“Direct to Cell works with LTE phones located wherever you can see the sky. No changes to hardware, firmware or special apps are required, providing seamless access to text, voice and data.
Elon Musk’s space company announced plans for the service last year alongside US partner T-Mobile. The service is likely to be relatively slow by terrestrial standards, with speeds estimated at between two and four megabits per second, but its benefit will be in expanding coverage. T-Mobile Press release from last year The company says the service will be available “practically everywhere in the continental United States, Hawaii, parts of Alaska and Puerto Rico, and territorial waters, even outside of T-Mobile’s network signal.”
Satellite communication has become a growing trend for smartphones in recent years. Apple added an Emergency SOS feature to its phones last year that allows iPhone 14 and later to send limited messages and location information via satellite in emergency situations. Meanwhile, AT&T-backed cellular satellite company AST SpaceMobile announced it made its first 5G satellite call from an unmodified smartphone last month.