SpaceX and Elon Musk’s T-Mobile are teaming up in an attempt to connect mobile devices through a network of satellites, bringing coverage to even the most isolated places.
According to the plan, T-Mobile’s wireless network would be routed through SpaceX Starlink satellites that are in low Earth orbit.
T-Mobile said the vast majority of smartphones already on its network will be compatible with the new service using the device’s existing radio.
The companies seek to provide text coverage, including SMS, MMS and participating messaging apps, almost anywhere in the continental United States, Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial waters, in starting with a beta in select regions by the end of next year. They want to add voice and data coverage later.
T-Mobile and SpaceX say they are ready to partner with other carriers to help expand the service worldwide.
“The important thing about this is that it means there is no dead zone in the world for your cell phone,” Elon Musk said during a live event at a SpaceX facility in Texas on Thursday.
The billionaire and CEO of Tesla, embroiled in a legal battle with Twitter, pointed out that one of the main benefits of the service will be that it can help people who find themselves in life-threatening situations in remote areas, potentially saving lives.