MIAMI — Elon Musk announced on Monday that SpaceX and T-Mobile will begin its testing phase for the Starlink satellite-to-cell service aimed to decrease mobile dead zones.
The project will aim to work with devices that are compatible with T-Mobile devices including its customers.
The market is intended for space-based data service to devices on the ground, such as smartphones.
On behalf of SpaceX, Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert announced the partnership in August for “coverage above & beyond” where Starlink satellite coverage is available in spots that doesn’t reach various cell phone towers.
SpaceX launched over 4,000 Starlink satellites to date that has rolled out the V2 mini satellites. The V2 mini has quadrupled the capacity for downlink capacity that it can provide than its first generation, the V2 satellites.
“The V2 minis are smaller than the V2 satellites (hence the name but don’t let the name fool you,” SpaceX said in a statement about the equipment, according to Ars. “The V2 Minis include more advanced phased array antennas and the use of E-band for back haul, which will enable Starlink to provide four times more capacity per satellite than earlier iterations.”
“We’re going to learn a lot by doing – not necessarily by overanalyzing – and getting out there,” said Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president of Starlink enterprise sales. Hofeller spoke of the plan at a panel at the Satellite 2023 conference in Washington D.C.
Hofeller has stated that SpaceX had plans to start the testing phase this year for the satellite-to-cell service with T-Mobile.
Currently, Amazon is pressing to level the plain field to make room to compete with SpaceX in the satellite-to-cell service sector, which they will implement Project Kuiper. The company is expecting to spend over $10 billion to secure 92 satellite launches from three different providers, which would be the biggest commercial-space procurement.
T-Mobile state that their cover of service would give their carrier that in all over the U.S. that includes hard to get signals in various country sides: National parks, mountain ranges, deserts, and various remote locations.
Hofeller said Monday that SpaceX is manufacturing six satellites and producing thousands of user terminals per day, according to CNBC.
The outlook for the V2 minis had been positive as SpaceX has well over 1 million users in their Starlink network. With Starlink business having a positive cash flow, SpaceX is aiming for profit in 2023 as the network continues to grow.
Musk had stated that Starlink is likely going to go IPO some time or beyond 2025 in a statement from last year.
“I’m not sure exactly when that [IPO] is, but maybe it will be like – I don’t know, just guessing – three or four years from now” Musk said to his employee, according to an audio from CNBC. “I think spinning it off as a public company can make a lot of sense.”