Why satellite internet for smartphones is not for everyone by Elon MuskWhy satellite internet for smartphones is not for everyone by Elon Musk

SpaceX has recently launched the first six satellites intended to supply mobile phone users with internet access, signifying a substantial advancement in the global provision of internet services via Satellite internet. The objective of the mission is to improve worldwide connectivity and eliminate regions lacking coverage. According to Elon Musk, the Starlink satellites will facilitate global mobile phone connectivity.

Musk offered some more information that may damper hopes for people hoping for ubiquitous internet access. He said that each beam can only hold around 7Mb and that these beams span enormous regions. As a result, although it is ideal for areas with no cellular service, it cannot compete with the performance of current land-based cellular networks.

The reasons why not everyone should use Satellite internet

At first look, Musk’s article indicates that the satellite’s main goal is to offer internet to places with no connection, similar to what Apple does with iPhones. These satellites are designed to offer text, voice, and data support for LTE phones all around the world. Text support will be available this year, but full access will be delayed.

The Direct to Cell capability will also connect IoT devices using common LTE protocols, although it is not expected to be available until 2025, so patience is necessary. These six were just the first of 21 Starlink satellites launched. SpaceX has ambitious ambitions to launch around 840 satellites directly catering to mobile phones during the next six months.

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While 7Mbps may seem modest in comparison to the blistering speeds provided by telecom companies in certain countries, such as the UAE’s 324.92Mbps or India’s 94.62Mbps, there is a problem when several devices connect to that same 7Mbps beam. It will most likely reduce internet speed for each device. However, there is optimism that advancements are on the way to overcome this possible bottleneck in the future.

How Internet via Direct to Cell will Operate

The Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell functionality have a sophisticated eNodeB modem that functions similarly to a space-based mobile tower, allowing network integration similar to that of a standard roaming partner.

Furthermore, for Starlink to operate properly, agreements with mobile network operators (MNOs) are required to integrate their services with existing cellular networks. While similar cooperation may have occurred in other nations, rumours indicate that the service may be launched in India.

Vodafone Idea has confirmed that they are not presently in talks to work with Musk’s satellite internet startup. Separate theories indicates that Reliance Jio may soon get regulatory licence to launch satellite internet services in India.

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