SpaceX: First Text Messages Sent and Received on Starlink
This milestone was achieved on Monday, with SpaceX sharing the news today on January 10, 2024. It’s worth pointing out this historic test occurred just six days after the deployment of the first six Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities on January 2.
SpaceX says integration of cell phones with satellite technology poses several technical challenges, but Starlink’s Direct to Cell satellites, equipped with custom silicon, large advanced phased array antennas, and advanced software algorithms, is able to overcome barriers such as Doppler shift and timing delays.
Starlink technology allows standard LTE service to ground-based cell phones, overcoming limitations previously faced by mobile phones.
SpaceX is set to expand this Direct to Cell network, with plans to launch hundreds of satellites to allow for text service in 2024 and extend to voice, data, and Internet of Things (IoT) services by 2025. The network utilizes Starlink’s existing infrastructure, including laser backhaul connections to the satellite constellation, allowing early satellites to offer global services with regulatory approval and without the need for dedicated ground infrastructure. This system is designed for seamless integration with Starlink’s core and the operator’s core networks.
To have cellphone coverage anywhere on the plant is going to change lives and save lives for those in emergencies. Starlink already brings high-speed internet to everywhere on Earth, and soon there will be cellphone coverage with data. Need to watch TikTok videos while you’re in the Amazon rainforest? Of course you do.
In August 2022, Starlink’s first carrier partner was T-Mobile in the U.S., but since then, worldwide partners have been added, including Rogers in Canada, along with Optus in Australia, One New Zealand, KDDI in Japan, Salt in Switzerland, and Entel in Chile and Peru.