SpaceX has launched a new website dedicated to promoting its upcoming Starlink service for mobile phones. 

On Tuesday night, the company debuted the “Starlink Direct to Cell” page with the tagline: “Seamless access to text, voice, and data for LTE phones across the globe.”

The system will tap the growing Starlink  satellite network in Earth’s orbit to beam cellular connectivity to unmodified smartphones. A year ago, SpaceX originally said it was hoping to launch the service later this year with partner T-Mobile. But since then, the company has been mum on the progress.

The new site reveals SpaceX is now targeting next year to launch the service to power satellite-based text messaging. The company then plans on powering voice and text in 2025.The same system will also support cellular connectivity to IoT devices in 2025. 

Starlink's goals for the service


The service looks poised to compete with Apple’s own satellite-based Emergency SOS feature for iPhones, along with AST Space Mobile, which is also seeking to deliver a cellular satellite service to unmodified smartphones next year. 

SpaceX’s new website adds: “Direct to Cell works with existing LTE phones wherever you can see the sky. No changes to hardware, firmware, or special apps are required, providing seamless access to text, voice, and data.”

But before SpaceX can formally launch the service, the company first needs to secure clearance from the Federal Communications Commission. SpaceX has been lobbying the US regulator to swiftly approve its application to use the necessary radio bands. However, other companies, including Dish Network and Apple partner Globalstar, have opposed parts of SpaceX’s efforts to develop the cellular-satellite service. 

Starlink diagram


In the meantime, the new Starlink Direct to Cell site notes that SpaceX plans on equipping the company’s satellites with an “advanced eNodeB modem.” The result can turn a Starlink satellite into a “cellphone tower in space, allowing network integration similar to a standard roaming partner.”

The site is also hoping to attract partnerships with other cellular providers. The page includes a contact form for companies to reach SpaceX about expanding their mobile networks. The new Starlink Direct to Cell page arrives as SpaceX has also refreshed the entire design for the official domain.

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