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SpaceX is preparing to test the Starlink satellite-to-cellular service it promised last year Story-level




Last summer, Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert announced “Coverage Above and Beyond,” a joint initiative aimed at bringing Starlink satellite coverage to compatible T-Mobile devices. Now, SpaceX is preparing to start testing its satellite-to-cellular service.

During a panel at the Satellite Conference and Exhibition 2023SpaceX’s vice president of enterprise sales for Starlink, Jonathan Hofeller, said the company had plans to “start testing” its satellite-to-cellular service this year. “We’re going to learn a lot by doing, not necessarily by over-analyzing, and going out, working with the telcos.”

Hofeller didn’t say specifically which Telco SpaceX was working with, but the timeline certainly aligns with Musk’s original vision for the T-Mobile partnership. In August he promised that Starlink V2 would be released in 2023 and “it would stream directly to mobile phones, eliminating dead zones around the world.” At the time, T-Mobile said that the service give the operator “almost full coverage” from most of the United States, specifically highlighting areas that are notoriously difficult to find a signal: national parks, mountain ranges, deserts, and other remote locations.

Either way, the panel seemed optimistic about the future of satellite-to-cell technology. Lynk Global CEO Charles Miller said cellular satellite service has the potential to be the “biggest category in satellites,” and Iridium CEO Matt Desch sees cellular satellite service as just the beginning. “The satellite should connect everything everywhere,” he said at the event, envisioning technology that connects to computers, vehicles and more.

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