T-Mobile taps Starlink to extend mobile coverage using satellite internet

According to T-Mobile, it will use Starlink to bolster its mobile connectivity service, an effort that will go live in some form by the end of next year. As part of the above and beyond coverage effort, the carrier will enable messaging on the Starlink network, later expanding that support to add data access and voice calling. The plan emphasizes the unique nature of Musk’s satellite internet service and how it can prove useful — ways that traditional cable and DSL services can’t match.

As it stands, 5G is grabbing all the attention when it comes to high-speed wireless internet access, and the connectivity option holds great promise for more than just watching 4K movies on smartphones. Virtually anywhere broadband access will be particularly useful for the Internet of Things market, allowing large fleets of devices to wirelessly connect to each other and to users, not to mention the ability to connect scientific equipment such as remote sensors to these wireless networks.

Truly high-speed 5G network technology however has very limited range, in a literal sense, i.e. it’s hard to find a place where you can access the mmWave option. For now, at least, that may be where Starlink comes in handy, essentially filling in the gaps in T-Mobile’s existing network. Although some details are still missing at the time of this writing, Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said at the press event that the majority of smartphones on T-Mobile’s network will work with the Starlink-based service when it goes live. Although we’ll have to wait for all the details to drop, the duo said the plan will arrive as an open beta first.