SpaceX has launched six satellites for the first time to provide mobile connectivity. It will act like a cell tower from space to make texting possible in remote areas using existing cell phones. Thus users do not need specialized equipment. In the long term, it also aims to save phone calls and mobile data.
Last month, the United States granted SpaceX approval to test so-called “direct-to-cell” technology. “It enables mobile communications anywhere on Earth,” CEO Elon Musk previously explained on Twitter. He stressed that communication capacity is limited. “While this is a great solution for places without mobile networks, it doesn't really compete with existing terrestrial networks.”
Telecom companies are showing keen interest in tapping into the direct satellite communications market. SpaceX will work with several operators in the United States, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Chile, Peru and Japan.
Starlink – SpaceX's satellite business – has been providing satellite internet connections for some time. The branch's sales are expected to reach about $10 billion this year, two-thirds of SpaceX's total sales. According to Bloomberg, Musk is considering taking Starlink public — perhaps by the end of this year.
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