SpaceX to offer satellite phone service?
December 2, 2022
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is to build “the largest deployable antenna array” designed by SpaceX to date. SpaceX is advertising for mechanical engineers to help achieve the concept.
A LinkedIn comment from Sara Spangelo, SpaceX’s co-lead on the sat-phone scheme, read: “SpaceX is developing a breakthrough new direct to cell satellite network to bring ubiquitous cellular connectivity worldwide via the Starlink constellation. We are partnering with telecommunication companies around the world to bring this service directly from satellites to existing cell phones, with the goal of providing coverage anywhere a phone can see the sky.”
There is currently no shortage of satellite businesses looking to tap into satellite phone demand. There’s Iridium, for example, which already has a full-fledged service in operation although mostly appealing to military and disaster relief clients. Apple has also contracted with Globalstar to supply emergency Text-based cellular connectivity to iPhones, although has admitted that a full satellite-to-phone service is one of its aims. Other companies such as AST SpaceMobile is also pursuing a full-fledged cellular service, while UK-based Bullitt Group says it is working with Taiwanese chip company MediaTek to build a handset that could link to satellites to send and receive text messages.
The SpaceX project could see it further its work with T-Mobile which it recently said would lead to cover most of the US with satellite-based cellular connectivity especially in remote areas.