Last year SpaceX and T-Mobile announced plans to offer cellphone service from space using a new second-gen SpaceX Starlink satellite. Earlier this year SpaceX started to launch these new satellites and will soon start testing phone calls from space.
This new service is hoped to completely eliminate dead zones around the world, allowing anyone to get help no matter where they are.
Starlink already has permission to launch 7,500 second-gen satellites, and what you see above is just the start of the launches.
Not only is SpaceX planning to launch more second-gen satellites soon, but also improving its remaining first-gen satellites. SpaceX is also hoping to use some of this upgraded technology for the remaining first gen-satellites it has yet to launch of the 4408 that the FCC approved.
“To be clear, while SpaceX intends to populate its Gen1 constellation with upgraded satellites, it does not intend to more rapidly de-orbit its existing satellites,” SpaceX wrote. “Rather, it seeks only to replace those satellites with upgraded hardware when those satellites reach the end of their planned operational period.”
Starlink customers won’t see internet speeds improve today, but as more of these satellites go live, you should start seeing speeds and reliability improvements in the months to come.
The phone service that comes with Starlink’s second-gen satellites also has no date for when it will start rolling out, but testing will happen this year.