SpaceX has just announced the signing of a partnership with the telephone operator T-Mobile. It should lead to the arrival of a package offering calls, SMS and data all using satellite communications. This brand new service should make it possible to connect “white zones” to the Internet.
Today it is estimated that 2% of the French population, or 1.4 million people, do not have access to network coverage. In other countries, these figures explode, and reach 50%. In order to counteract this problem, without having to install antennas everywhere on the planet, SpaceX has been developing its Starlink solution for several years.
End white areas
It should connect anyone anywhere to the Internet in seconds. With this brand new phone plan, T-Mobile is the first operator to offer such an offer. Present at Starbase, SpaceX’s control and work center, Mike Sievert, the CEO of T-Mobile summed up the project in one sentence.
“If you have clear skies, then you are connected to the internet. » Behind this simple idea lie years of work for both companies. If SpaceX has sent thousands of satellites into space to connect the whole world to the Internet, T-Mobile has not stood idly by either.
A package available on many phones
Indeed, the operator had to set up an intermediate band system. Today, a large proportion of phones sold new support this spectrum (SCP). This means that the plan sold by T-Mobile will be available on a large number of devices.
To explain how this new communication system works, Mike Sievert explains that it’s like “putting a giant antenna in the sky, but much more complicated”. A true feat of engineering, SpaceX satellites leave no one indifferent.
Many people take this constellation for UFOs, because of its linear and perfectly synchronized movement. Others criticize the nuisance caused, in particular for space observation. Finally, there are those who see in Starlink the end of terrestrial antennas for communication.
Apple is also working on a satellite communication solution
Anyway, the project is in tune with the times, and it also has competition. In his latest report on Apple, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explains that Apple is working on a similar system. He specifies that all the tests were carried out on the iPhone 14 and that Apple is now waiting for the green light from the telephone operators to deploy such a service.
While this solution may seem like an attractive innovation for the future, the big unknown is how much it will cost the user. In view of the first rates given by SpaceX about Starlink, it is difficult to imagine a telephone plan selling for 4 to 5 times more than market prices.