SpaceX plans to launch Starlink direct-to-cellular service in Fall 2024

SpaceX is targeting a Fall 2024 launch for its Starlink direct-to-cellular phone service, as indicated in a filing submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The company expressed its appreciation for the Commission’s flexible regulatory framework for supplemental coverage from space (‘SCS’), which would enable ubiquitous mobile coverage for consumers and first responders. SpaceX intends to launch commercial direct-to-cellular service in the United States in the fall, supporting text, voice, and web browsing through its supplemental coverage network. In its filing, SpaceX emphasized the potential for future innovations to further enhance the supplemental coverage service and its features.

It noted that while the improved service would not replace terrestrial mobile networks, it would provide an enhanced source of connectivity where those networks do not exist. SpaceX urged the FCC to reconsider the aggregate limit on radio frequencies for cellular satellites, expressing concern that the limit could undermine the goal of providing robust coverage during emergencies. The company argued that the aggregate limit would needlessly restrict the coverage and quality of direct-to-cellular connectivity, even in situations where there is no risk of adjacent-band interference. SpaceX’s filing to the FCC can be viewed in the report titled “An across-the-board, aggregate out-of-band limit… will unfortunately undermine the goal of providing robust coverage during emergencies…” from PCMag.

The company also shared its excitement about the upcoming launch by mentioning the completion of the first video call through Starlink Direct to Cell satellites from unmodified mobile phones and its plans to go live with T-Mobile later in the year.

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