SpaceX launches first six satellites for T-Mobile’s direct-to-cell service

T-Mobile has partnered with SpaceX for the launch of its first set of Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched the satellites yesterday and is currently in low-Earth orbit.

The initiative aims to bring connectivity nearly everywhere in the U.S. for Un-carrier customers — even in many of the most remote locations previously unreachable by traditional cell signals from any provider.

Leveraging SpaceX’s constellation of satellites with Direct to Cell technology, the network provider aims to offer voice and data coverage to remote locations. But the service will begin with text messaging, with voice and data coverage to follow in the coming years.

Further, T-Mobile is also aiming to bring universal coverage by partnering with wireless providers across the globe. As of today, five wireless providers are already on board with T-Mobile to launch Direct to Cell technology including KDDI (Japan), Optus (Australia), One NZ (New Zealand), Rogers (Canada), and others.

Regarding the matter, Mike Katz, President of Marketing, Strategy, and Products, T-Mobile said,

Our mission is to be the best in the world at connecting customers to their world and today is another step forward in keeping our customers connected even in the most remote locations for added peace of mind when they need it most. Today’s launch is a pivotal moment for this groundbreaking alliance with SpaceX and our global partners around the world, as we work to make dead zones a thing of the past.

ISRO to use SpaceX Falcon-9 to launch GSAT-20

In parallel news, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO, has also announced its partnership with SpaceX for the launch of GSAT-20. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch this Ka-band satellite to deliver high-speed broadband internet connectivity and digital video and audio transmission.

The coverage of this satellite will span across India, including Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep islands. The launch is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2024.

Regarding the matter, NSIL states that:

GSAT-20 offers Ka-Ka band HTS capacity with 32 beams having Pan-India coverage including A&N and Lakshadweep islands. NSIL is realizing the GSAT-20 satellite through ISRO and will be launched on-board Falcon-9 under a Launch service contract between M/s NSIL and M/s SpaceX, USA. GSAT-20 weighing 4700 kg, offers HTS capacity of nearly 48Gpbs. The satellite has been specifically designed to meet the demanding service needs of remote/ unconnected regions.