Elon Musk’s satellite internet receives its first text message

American aerospace manufacturing and space transportation services company SpaceX shows the first text message The satellite Internet service, developed by the above company, is sent between T-Mobile phones via one of Starlink’s low Earth orbit satellites, media specialized in technology reported. Ars Technica.

“On Monday, January 8, the Starlink team successfully sent and received our first text message “Using T-Mobile network spectrum via one of our new direct to sale satellites launched six days ago,” a Starlink update detailed.

SpaceX last week launched the first six Starlink satellites that can provide cellular transmission to standard LTE (4G capable) phones. The service, which Starlink calls a “cell tower in space,” is expected to provide text messaging sometime this year For T-Mobile customers in the US and operators in other countries. Voice and data service is expected to launch sometime in 2025.

SpaceX posted a photo of two iPhones exchanging text messages like: “What a signal” and “Wow.” Starlink said the process that allowed those text messages to be sent was quite complex.

“Linking cellphones to satellites faces several significant challenges,” The company noted. “For example, cell phone towers in a terrestrial network are stationary, but in a satellite network they move at thousands of miles per hour relative to users on Earth. This requires seamless transfers between satellites and factors such as Doppler shift and time. Requires optimization of delay.

Mobile phones have “low antenna gain and transmission power”, making it “incredibly difficult” to communicate with satellites Hundreds of miles away, the company said. But Starlink’s new satellites are equipped with “innovative custom silicon, phased antennas and advanced software algorithms that overcome these challenges and provide standard LTE service to cell phones on the ground.”

Satellite phone service should work almost anywhere on the planet, but it wouldn’t make sense to use it when you can connect to a terrestrial cell tower. As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, the limited bandwidth means it is “not meaningfully competitive with existing terrestrial cellular networks.”

T-Mobile said last week that field testing of Starlink satellites with the T-Mobile network would begin soon, but did not announce an actual service start date. T-Mobile said the Starlink connectivity will be useful in areas of the US where there is no coverage “due to terrain limitations.” land use restrictions” and other factors.

Although this technology can benefit many countries with low availability of mobile coverage, its use is still restricted in some countries. according to medium The Economic Times, The launch of satellite broadband services in India is pending regulatory approval.

in March 2022, Cuban-American Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar made a personal appeal to Musk to bring Starlink satellite internet technology to Cuba. As they did in Ukraine. The billionaire businessman sent Starlink to Ukraine in response to a public request from Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov following frequent internet disruptions during the Russian invasion. Salazar’s request sought to counter the Cuban regime’s repeated internet outages during popular protests or events it is interested in silencing.

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