Forget satellite SOS on iPhone 14, Elon Musk’s Starlink to offer internet on all smartphones


Elon Musk’s Starlink wants to provide satellite broadband service to mobile devices directly. Know all details.

Apple has been making headlines with its Emergency SOS via Satellite feature on the iPhone 14 series, and has been proving to be of immense help. However, Elon Musk’s Starlink wants to use its satellite service for something even better – to provide internet connection to smartphones directly. Musk, who has been in the news lately for his stringent measures on running Twitter, now wants to provide data connectivity to smartphones directly, without any additional gear.

Based on a report from CNET, it is said that SpaceX has now got the approval to deploy 7500 additional satellites in low-earth orbit, thereby expanding the Starlink broadband satellite coverage to over 10000 satellites over the coming decade. In order to provide it to smartphones, SpaceX will collaborate with T-Mobile in the US. Once the service goes live, T-Mobile users in the US can access internet connectivity even in remote areas.

Starlink broadband on smartphones directly

SpaceX has already filed for permission to the US Federal Communications Commission to fit a few of its Starlink satellites with “direct-to-cellular” equipment. This will allow smartphone users in remote areas to access the internet without the need for separate gear. At the moment, Starlink subscribers need to set up a dish antenna along with a modem and router to access the internet in remote locations.

Prior to this, SpaceX and T-Mobile had announced this joint venture to let mobile data subscribers access internet access in remote areas. The project will connect mobile phones directly to Starlink satellites, which eliminates the need for cellphone towers in far flung areas. The service would initially allow text messaging during its start in 2023. Later on, voice and data services will be allowed on the same.

At the moment, Apple is using direct satellite connectivity for its Emergency SOS service on the iPhone 14 series. Apple’s service only allows it to be used in emergency situations, sending small text messages to Apple’s call centers via satellites. The call center transmits the emergency message to rescue services. Apple is offering it for free for the next two years and will charge its customers from thereafter.


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