Science

Starlink on mobile: not in Europe

As with SpaceX, which revolutionized the space launch industry, or Tesla, which turned the automotive industry on its head, Elon Musk is a communication champion. Morning, noon or evening. Summer or winter and regardless of the break, confectioners in December or summer in August.

Let’s go back to August with an ad that still has hares hiding in it. First, the price of the yo-yo. And I lower the price to attract customers in France (from 99 euros to 50 euros), and I raise the price of the antenna in the face of a shortage of electronic components around the world, then I raise the price of a subscription in the United States. Single ($110 instead of $99), then finally I temporarily lower it to $95. And I create a premium subscription with a guaranteed speed of 500Mb / s against $ 500 per month and $ 2500 for hardware. And I’m announcing that the basic subscription will be slowed down after 250 GB of data. But I would add that the client will be able to restore their speed if they pay 10 euros more for every additional 100 GB.

A pricing policy that has nothing to envy of traditional telecom operators, where specific clauses are sometimes harder to understand than the most brutal insurance contracts.

Wouters – Starlink 2-0

Also in early August, the Belgian Lennert Wouters once again demonstrated at a specialized conference in Las Vegas how you can hack Starlink receivers for less than $25. those who find flaws. What to do with it? Dreaming of being able to interrupt transmission and therefore communication, a strategic element of any revolution or any war.

Prices “fixed”, the brilliant entrepreneur learned the bad news in mid-August: the US telecommunications regulator’s refusal to grant him $900 million in government bailouts, the FCC deemed the technology was not delivering the communications promised by the application file. .

Until mid-August, his new project to provide high-speed satellite connectivity, Starlink, was denied $900 million in public money by the US telecommunications regulator, the FCC, which said the technology fell short of its promises.

The flow is still far from promising

The speed is regularly the subject of ridicule, especially in the US, where it painfully reaches 50 to 150 Mbps when the sky isn’t overly cloudy or its receiver isn’t in a densely built-up area where a traditional fiber optic subscription remains. much better, whether in terms of price or speed. Again, Starlink is promised to reach 300Mbps by the end of 2022 with a latency of less than 20ms… Mr. Musk announced in January 2021, up from the 1Gbps announced at the beginning of the project. Today in France, when everything is good, we have about 120 Mbps.

The last point, mobility. If the goal of the creator of Tesla and SpaceX was, like SES, OneWeb, Amazon Kuiper and others, to provide connectivity to those who do not have it, Starlink offered for $ 25 the opportunity to move its antenna to a different place than where the service is paid … but only for two months. Good news for the summer nomads who, to Musk’s delight, are the first to reveal how they were able to connect anywhere from their parked van…

The story of these mobile pioneers in areas lacking terrestrial infrastructure was followed by a new sounding and stumbling announcement at the end of August: an agreement between Starlink and T-Mobile to provide communications via satellite and directly to their smartphone. Well, this is still the same project – to provide communication where there is none – but within the framework of a marriage between an operator on the ground and an operator in the sky. And yet, while he will be able to skip SMS only with a jet lag of up to 30 minutes, indicate the technical characteristics of the project. And this does not apply to Europe, answers Paperjam T-Mobile … in telegraph style.

All that remains for Elon Musk fans in Luxembourg is to try to see clusters of low-orbit satellites. Next pass, this Thursday evening at 21:38.

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