T-Mobile US said it will use Elon Musk-owned SpaceX’s Starlink satellites to provide mobile connectivity in parts of the United States.
Starlink’s satellites will use T-Mobile’s mid-band spectrum to create a new network. Most smartphones used by the company’s customers will be compatible with the new service, which will start with texting services in a beta phase beginning by the end of next year.
The U.S wireless carrier said it aims to pursue voice and data coverage after the texting services beta phase.
SpaceX has launched nearly 3,000 low-Earth orbiting Starlink satellites since 2019, beating OneWeb and Amazon.com’s Project Kuiper.
Meanwhile, U.S telecom operators are in a race to build up the mid-band portion of their 5G networks to catch up with T-Mobile. Germany-based Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile bagged 2.5 GHz of mid-band spectrum thanks to a buyout of rival Sprint. Investment in mid-band or C-Band will offer both capacity and coverage.
Satellite communications firm AST SpaceMobile is also building a global cellular broadband network in space that will operate with mobile devices without the need for additional hardware.