T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert and SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk have joined forces in a recent live event at SpaceX's Starbase facility in Texas to announce Coverage Above and Beyond.
The Coverage Above and Beyond plan is a collaboration between the companies that intends to bring cell phone coverage to the entire United States. This will include remote locations that traditional cell signals have trouble reaching through leveraging SpaceX's Starlink constellation, which utilizes satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) to enable access to the Internet.
Cellular connectivity is unavailable from any provider in over half a million square miles of the United States, leaving people disconnected or resorting to expensive satellite phones. To solve this issue, T-Mobile and SpaceX will create a new network broadcast from Starlink satellites using T-Mobile's mid-band spectrum, already in use nationwide, to provide a satellite-to-cellular service accessible from 'almost anywhere a customer can see the sky.'
T-Mobile expects that most smartphones on its network will be immediately compatible with the upcoming service, which will be available as a beta starting by the end of 2023. The service will initially cover SMS, MMS, and select messaging services, with voice and data coverage to come later. Additionally, both Sievert and Musk have issued an open invite to other cellular providers worldwide to join the collaboration and enable worldwide coverage for all.
"We've always thought differently about what it means to keep customers connected, and that's why we're working with the best to deliver coverage above and beyond anything customers have ever seen before. More than just a groundbreaking alliance, this represents two industry-shaking innovators challenging the old ways of doing things to create something entirely new that will further connect customers and scare competitors," said Sievert.
"The important thing about this is that it means there are no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phone. We're incredibly excited to do this with T-Mobile," said Musk.