SpaceX launches first set of Starlink satellites with direct-to-cell capabilities

T-Mobile US today said that SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday with the first set of Starlink satellites that can beam phone signals from space directly to smartphones. The U.S wireless carrier will use Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to provide mobile users with network access in parts of the United States, the companies had announced in August 2022.  The direct-to-cell service at first will begin with text messaging followed by voice and data capabilities in the coming years, T-Mobile said.  Satellite service will not be immediately available to T-Mobile customers; the company said that field testing would begin “soon.”

SpaceX plans to “rapidly” scale up the project, according to Sara Spangelo, senior director of satellite engineering at SpaceX. “The launch of these first direct-to-cell satellites is an exciting milestone for SpaceX to demonstrate our technology,” she said.

Mike Katz, president of marketing, strategy and products at T-Mobile, said the service was designed to help ensure users remained connected “even in the most remote locations”. He said he hoped dead zones would become “a thing of the past”.

Other wireless providers across the world, including Japan’s KDDI,  Australia’s Optus, New Zealand’s One NZ, Canada’s Rogers will collaborate with SpaceX to launch direct-to-cell technology.


Starlink Direct to Cell service (via Entel) is coming to Chile and Peru be end of 2024

Starlink’s Direct to Cell service for existing LTE phones “wherever you can see the sky”


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