SpaceX And T-Mobile Set To Conduct Space Calls In December

T-Mobile is on the verge of achieving a historic milestone – the first-ever phone call from space. SpaceX has officially sought approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a “Special Temporary Authority” (STA) period of 60 days. This STA is intended to facilitate the launch and testing of SpaceX’s Gen2 satellites’ capability to establish a direct cellphone connection.

The filing’s description states: “Direct-to-cell STA to launch and test its non-geostationary orbit NGSO second generation Gen2 satellites with direct-to-cellular communications payloads to connect unmodified cellular phones directly to SpaceX Gen2 satellites.”

The prospect of connecting an ordinary smartphone to a satellite in low Earth orbit opens up exciting possibilities for global connectivity. It has the potential to eliminate the concept of “dead zones” by delivering reliable and high-quality connectivity in remote regions, potentially for the very first time. While T-Mobile and SpaceX announced a 5G partnership in August, it remains uncertain whether the upcoming December phone calls will utilize 5G technology.

This development was initially spotted by a Reddit user and reported by X user Megaconstellations. According to Megaconstellations, “As Omnispace objections delay SpaceX’s application for D2D service yesterday, they requested Special Temporary Authorization with FCC to test their D2D payload with T-Mobile’s PCS G Block coordinate with various radio astronomers across multiple U.S. locations.” In simpler terms, SpaceX and T-Mobile will conduct device-to-device (D2D) testing over T-Mobile’s 1910-1915 MHz and 1990-1995 MHz bands, known as the PCS G Block.

In a similar feat last month, AST SpaceMobile, a cellular satellite company backed by AT&T, successfully used a Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone in a wireless dead zone in Maui, Hawaii, to make a call to a Vodafone engineer in Madrid, Spain. This achievement relied on AT&T’s 5G spectrum, Nokia’s network core, and AST SpaceMobile’s low Earth orbit satellite, BlueWalker 3, to establish the cell signal connection.

As of now, T-Mobile and SpaceX have not provided official comments on this groundbreaking development.

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