Starlink and T-Mobile Collaborate to Cover White Areas in the United States

Starting in 2023, SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Internet access service must offer direct connectivity for mobile phones in white areas. German telecom operator T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, announced a partnership with Elon Musk’s company on August 25 in a press release. This will allow it to provide network coverage throughout the United States through the mega-constellation of low-orbit satellites deployed by SpaceX.

This connection will be relayed over the T-Mobile radio network and will require no additional equipment other than a smartphone for the “vast majority” of T-Mobile subscribers. In other words, there is no need for a satellite phone, the only condition is to have a clear view of the sky.

Satellite communications should be included by default in carrier packages, except for the cheapest subscriptions. The operator claims that this will allow coverage of mountainous, desert, sea areas or even national parks in which telecom operators cannot place their infrastructures.


The proposed speed (between 2 and 4 Mbps) will initially cover simple applications such as SMS, MMS and some messaging applications. “Using this technology, T-Mobile plans to offer text coverage to its customers virtually anywhere in the US mainland, Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial waters, even where T-Mobile’s network does not reach. “says T-Mobile.

“If there aren’t too many people in the coverage area, we could potentially even shoot some video,” Elon Musk added during an event announcing the partnership, which took place at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica. Texas. The head of Tesla also indicated that his electric vehicles will use the same network to improve their communication.

call for future partners

The first experiment will begin at the end of 2022 in several territories not specified in the press release, after the launch of new generation Starlink satellites equipped with longer antennas. Other carriers are encouraged to join the project to expand coverage internationally, with T-Mobile stating its willingness to enter into roaming agreements (which allow customers to use a network other than the one they subscribe to).

In October 2021, the Amazon Kuiper project, Starlink’s purely virtual competitor for the moment as the company has not yet deployed its satellites, put the cart before the horse by signing an agreement with Verizon in the United States to serve as a relay for its telecommunications infrastructure and thus , extend coverage without the need to deploy fiber in white areas.

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