In a significant development, Starlink, a satellite internet service provider under Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has unveiled its ambitious timeline to introduce a groundbreaking mobile service. The service, known as “Direct to Cell,” will bring seamless connectivity through satellite technology, allowing users to send SMS messages in 2024 and make voice calls, use internet data, and connect IoT devices in 2025, all without the need for hardware or firmware changes.
Starlink, a division of SpaceX, has been working tirelessly to build an interconnected network of orbiting satellites with the ultimate goal of providing internet access to every corner of the globe. This service will extend connectivity even to the most remote and underserved areas.
Direct to Cell, as described on the company’s website, promises “seamless access to text messages, voice calls, and data for LTE phones worldwide,” eliminating the need for device modifications.
The rollout of Starlink’s mobile coverage service is set to begin in 2024 with the launch of SMS capabilities. By 2025, the company will expand its offering to include voice calls, internet data access, and support for various IoT devices.
SpaceX has revealed that the Direct to Cell satellites will be equipped with an eNodeB modem, effectively acting as mobile towers in space. This feature enables network integration similar to that of standard roaming partners, making it a game-changer in the world of satellite communication.
Direct to Cell is poised to reach telecommunications providers around the world, including T-Mobile and Rodgers in the United States, KDDI in Japan, Opto in Australia, One NZ in New Zealand, and Sal in Switzerland.
Leveraging their expertise in manufacturing and launching some of the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft, SpaceX aims to execute this satellite connectivity project on a global scale. These Direct to Cell satellites will be initially launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and subsequently on Starship. Once in orbit, they will seamlessly connect to the expansive Starlink constellation, ensuring global connectivity.
This announcement marks a significant step towards transforming global mobile connectivity and bridging the digital divide, as Starlink’s Direct to Cell service promises to revolutionize how we stay connected, regardless of geographical location or conventional infrastructure.
With Starlink’s innovative approach, the dream of global satellite connectivity is becoming a reality, with the potential to reshape the way the world communicates. The introduction of SMS in 2024 and voice calls with data access in 2025 will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for connectivity worldwide.