Starlink Satellite Phone Service for SMS Only
SpaceX has a new service called Starlink Direct to Cell. It offers cellular connectivity to LTE phones via satellite. It is tapping its growing satellite network in Earth’s orbit to provide cellular connectivity to unmodified smartphones.
Last year, the company said it would launch the service later in 2023 by partnering with T-Mobile. But it has been silent on the progress.
Now, it just revealed its plan and it is targeting next year to launch the service. Although the service will only be SMS, the company will provide voice and data in 2025. It is the same system that will support connectivity to IoT devices in 2025.
“Direct to Cell works with existing LTE phones wherever you can see the sky. No changes to hardware, firmware, or special apps are required, providing seamless access to text, voice, and data.” Starlink
It offers numerous benefits. It makes it a critical technology for various applications and industries. One of the benefits includes providing coverage to even the most remote and inaccessible regions on Earth. It ensures connectivity in areas where traditional terrestrial networks are unavailable or impractical.
Satellite communication systems are highly reliable and can be crucial in disaster-stricken areas where terrestrial infrastructure may be damaged or disrupted.
These services can also reach virtually anywhere, including remote rural areas, ships at sea, and aircraft in flight. It makes it ideal for reaching underserved or geographically dispersed populations.
Satellite internet services have improved significantly in recent years, offering high-speed internet access in areas without traditional broadband infrastructure.
Satellite networks can easily be expanded to accommodate growing demands for data and connectivity. It makes them suitable for various applications, from rural connectivity to global data transfer.
Satellites enable real-time data transfer and voice communications, making them indispensable for applications like telemedicine, remote monitoring, and emergency response.
They are also critical tools for various scientific endeavors, such as space exploration, Earth observation, and the study of other celestial bodies. Furthermore, the financial sector relies on satellite connectivity for secure and high-speed data transfer, enabling real-time trading and financial transactions.
Even though there are plenty of benefits that Starlink’s satellite phone service can offer, the company must first secure clearance from the FTC. It has been lobbying the US regulator to quickly approve its application.
Unfortunately, many tech companies are against the company’s effort to develop this type of service.
Traditional technology companies may view satellite phone services as competition to their existing terrestrial communication services. Satellite phones can provide connectivity in remote or underserved areas where traditional technologies struggle to reach, potentially leading to a loss of market share.
Companies heavily invested in terrestrial infrastructure may not see satellite phone services as aligning with their long-term business strategies. They might prefer to invest in expanding and improving their existing network rather than adopting satellite technologies.
Furthermore, satellite phone services can be relatively expensive, both for consumers and businesses. Some tech companies may argue that these high costs limit accessibility and affordability, making it less appealing to a wider customer base. Nevertheless, Starlink wants to attract more partnerships with other cellular providers.