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T-Mobile, SpaceX joint venture to end cellular ‘dead zones’

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In a strategic partnership aimed at providing “universal coverage” for 5G cell phones, T-Mobile is teaming with SpaceX to pair the Starlink satellite array with T-Mobile’s 5G wireless network.

The companies issued a joint press statement that invited other cellular carriers worldwide to expand globally with reciprocal roaming.

No more cellular dead zones

T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert and SpaceX CEO and Chief Engineer Elon Musk announced the partnership they call “Coverage Above and Beyond.” The plan aims to plug cellular coverage gaps and enable cell phone connectivity everywhere on the planet. The plan is to match Starlink’s growing low-earth satellite constellation with T-Mobile’s wireless network to provide coverage in remote locations previously unreachable by traditional cell tower signals.

SpaceX CEO Musk and T-Mobile CEO Sievert announce their companies’ new technology partnership.

Satellite signals overcome terrestrial limitations

The companies’ joint statement said that despite current state-of-the-art LTE and 5G wireless networks, more than half a million square miles of the U.S. and vast stretches of ocean are untouched by cell signals. Wireless service providers have long attempted to eliminate mobile dead zones with terrestrial cellular technology, to no avail, due to land-use restrictions on public lands (e.g., National Parks), terrain limits (e.g., mountains, deserts, and other topographical realities), and the size of the American landscape.

“We’ve always thought differently about what it means to keep customers connected, and that’s why we’re working with the best to deliver coverage above and beyond anything customers have ever seen before,” said Sievert. “More than just a groundbreaking alliance, this represents two industry-shaking innovators challenging the old ways of doing things to create something entirely new that will further connect customers and scare competitors.”

“The important thing about this is that it means there are no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phone,” SpaceX’s Elon Musk said. “We’re incredibly excited to do this with T-Mobile.”

SpaceX and T-Mobile will create a new network that will broadcast from Starlink satellites using T-Mobile’s nationwide mid-band spectrum.

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patti panuccio
2 months ago

I wonder if this will eliminate roaming problems with the carriers other than t-mobile, which is what I have and love, I recently went to a festival in New Mexico at 8000 feet and right beside a cell tower and had no signal, turns out (info from the people in the town) that if you don’t have Verizon you only get basic and emergency service, no internet, Has anyone else incurred this situation?

Trish
2 months ago
Reply to  patti panuccio

Yes, several places in many states that we have been in are the same. Fine with me, it’s nice to be unplugged from time to time. Shows a person just how dependant they have become in the dumb thing.

Ray
2 months ago

I’d like more detail please. 5G signal has no trouble passing thru trees. Thus far, satellite signals do. How is this issue addressed?

MattD
2 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Very good question! I believe it’s because, in layman’s terms, it’s omni-directional, where there are many, many satellites. Not just one to point to. The technology of a seamless transition from one satellite to the next is the most complicated part of this system, as there are 3000 of these sat’s in orbit now. Someone correct me if I’m wrong…

Tom
2 months ago
Reply to  MattD

I have Starlink and love it. At first we had a lag in switching satellites but since more have been put up this problem has disappeared.

Paul B.
2 months ago

Change the name to “Coverage to Infinity and Beyond!”

Jesse Crouse
2 months ago

I thought the monthly charge I already pay meant that my business cell service worked all the time and everywhere. Silly me for believing the sales ads and the person who sold me the plan. Another way to jack the monthly dollar amount.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

So far, I’m no fan of 5G, and it sounds like that’s what this runs on. Plus, if I understand what the service provides (from going to the Starlink website and seeing what they offer – and how much $), you still need to keep your cell service to make simple phone calls. It also sounds like you can access streaming TV (Hulu etc.) but not regular TV like with Dish and Direct TV. While this might have great appeal to those who work from their RV but park in really remote areas all the time, the “average Joe” like me (and one or two others – ahem) may not find any use for this spendy service. $599 one time hardware cost and $110/month. This is for residential service. If you want it for your RV, charges and billing get a bit more complicated.

MevetS
2 months ago
  • Note that, per MIRC, : The technology is focused on basic messaging apps – not on providing full internet connectivity.

MIRC is the Mobile Internet Resource Center T-Mobile And SpaceX Starlink Partnership – “Coverage Above & Beyond” Aims To Eliminate Dead Zones – Mobile Internet Resource Center (rvmobileinternet.com)

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  MevetS

Thanks for the link MevetS. It made for interesting reading – and further letting me know I probably won’t be interested in this. A hotspot from my Verizon cell will suffice for as long as I can imagine. Sadly, we are rarely out of cell access no matter how far out into the desert we get. Ha.

Larry Lee
2 months ago

My advice to CEO Mike Sievert is to modify his tag line quote from, “…create something entirely new that will further connect customers and scare competitors.” to “…create something entirely new that will further connect customers and stimulate competition.”

TIM MCRAE
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Lee

👍👍👍

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