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Elon Musk Announces T-Mobile Mobile Coverage of Starlink Satellites

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T-Mobile says it is removing mobile dead zones thanks to a new partnership with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet, on an event hosted by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert and Elon Musk.

According to Musk, second generation Starlink satellites launching next year will be able to broadcast a service using some of T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G spectrum. The company says you can text, send MMS and even use “messaging apps” when you have a clear view of the sky, even if no traditional service is available. “If there aren’t too many people in the cell zone, you might even have a little bit of video,” Musk said.

The service will launch in beta next year, and Sievert says he hopes it will someday include data. He says T-Mobile’s “vision” at launch is for it to be included in the carrier’s “most popular plans” for free, though he did say today’s event is not an official announcement.

T-Mobile says current subscriber phones can use the network — no special equipment required. While there are rumors that future iPhones will include satellite communications, possibly for emergency purposes, that’s not the kind of technology T-Mobile is counting on here.

Earlier this year, SpaceX lost a bid for nationwide internet subsidies because of the cost of its equipment. But if it can piggyback on T-Mobile’s existing equipment, which people in rural areas may already own, that could help her case with the Federal Communications Commission. Thursday’s presentation certainly touched on the idea of ​​national coverage, with videos of people in remote parks, the mountains or herding animals.

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