This week the FCC voted 4-0 to approve a new effort to help satellite providers like SpaceX offer wireless cell phone service from space. SpaceX’s Starlink service already had a deal in place with T-Mobile to offer phone service in areas that currently does not have it.
“The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today proposes a framework through which satellite operators collaborating with terrestrial service providers would be able to obtain FCC authorization to operate space stations on certain currently licensed, flexible-use spectrum allocated to terrestrial services. The Commission is proposing to add a mobile-satellite service allocation on some terrestrial flexible-use bands.” The FCC said in a statement.
The FCC went on to say that this service could “serve a wireless provider’s customers should they need connectivity in remote areas, for example in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, Lake Michigan, the 100-Mile Wilderness, or the Uinta Mountains.”
SpaceX has already announced plans to start testing wireless service from its newly launched second gen Starlink satellites later this year. The FCC recently approved Starlink to launch 7,500 second-gen satellites. These new satellites are needed for SpaceX and T-Mobile plans to offer wireless service from space.
There is no date yet on when this service will go live. It is expected that Text messaging will start first, followed by voice and data at a later date. When this service goes live, it will eliminate wireless dead spots around the world.