T-Mobile phones will connect to SpaceX Starlink satellites late next year. T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert announced Cover above and beyonda technology alliance between T-Mobile and SpaceX.
“It’s amazing because it’s kind of like putting a cell tower in the sky, just a lot harder,” Sievert told the crowd at the SpaceX, T-Mobile event.
He explained that for coverage, a slice of T-Mobile’s mid-band PCS spectrum would be integrated into Starlink satellites launching next year. Sievert explained that Cover above and beyond will enter beta at the end of next year, starting with text, MMS and some messaging apps. T-Mobile will work more with SpaceX to expand services in the future.
The SpaceX and T-Mobile collaboration aims to end mobile dead zones in the United States and perhaps even across the world. Sievert also said the company is looking to work with carriers around the world for services. T-Mobile uses other carriers to provide reciprocal roaming with other carriers around the world. Reciprocal roaming will allow US citizens to stay connected inside and outside the United States, as well as people abroad traveling within the country.
The best part of T-Mobile’s Starlink connected service is the price. It will likely be free on T-Mobile’s most popular plans. For low cost plans that might not include Cover above and beyond, T-Mobile plans to charge customers a monthly service fee. Sievert said the fee would cost significantly less than the fees charged by satellite connectivity services.
Stay connected during natural disasters
Teslarati reporter Johnna Crider spoke to Elon Musk during his interview about using Starlink services during natural disasters. “When we had Ida, my power went out for a week. When the hurricane hit, communications and southeast Louisiana were completely wiped out. We were using – I forget the name of the app, but Cajun Navy uses it to save people,” she told Musk.
“Starlink would definitely help organizations like the Cajun Navy as well as others just to be able to communicate better, especially with the government [agencies, I meant to say]. And not only in my region, but also in other regions. It would be cool to see something like this on a plus installed on your phone to keep people connected. Crider added.
Elon Musk responded by saying, “Granted, the phone is capable of behaving at least like a short-range walkie-talkie even if it’s not connected to the internet anyway. We could essentially bridge WiFi.
During the SpaceX + T-Mobile update event, Elon Musk mentioned that the new service is useful during natural disasters. “Even if a region or an entire country were lost in connectivity due to a severe hurricane, or floods or fires, or tornadoes…earthquakes, there are obviously so many natural disasters. Even if all cell towers were removed, your phone would still work.
Watch the full T-Mobile and SpaceX event below!
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