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SpaceX Launches First Satellites for Direct Cell Phone Connection with Global Ambition

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SpaceX has made a leap towards its goal of providing mobile phone connectivity anywhere on Earth with the launch of its first batch of Starlink satellites equipped for direct-to-cell communication.

These six satellites, launched alongside 15 others, mark the start of a testing phase in partnership with T-Mobile, paving the way for broader deployments later this year.

Approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission allows SpaceX to experiment with 840 satellites beaming 4G signals to unmodified smartphones.

Think of these satellites as “cell phone towers in space,” aiming to eliminate dead zones and bring communication even to the most remote corners of the globe.

While the initial service will focus on text messaging this year, voice and data capabilities are targeted for 2025, along with potential connectivity for Internet of Things devices. However, commercialization will require further regulatory greenlight.

SpaceX Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk acknowledged the limitations, emphasizing that this technology is meant to fill gaps in terrestrial networks, not compete with their speed and capacity.

Nonetheless, the potential is undeniable, and SpaceX faces competition from players like Lynk, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and AST SpaceMobile, all vying for a slice of the direct-to-cell market.

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