2degrees, a New Zealand-based telecommunications company, has announced plans to test a groundbreaking technology that will allow text messages to be sent via a "cell tower in space." The trial, scheduled for May 25, is part of a commercial contract between 2degrees and Lynk Global, Inc.
The collaboration intends to keep customers in New Zealand's rural areas connected no matter where they are by employing Lynk's revolutionary "cell-towers-in-space" technology. In preparation for its commercial launch later this year, the planned test will evaluate the functioning and performance of Lynk's satellite-to-phone service.
Mark Callander, CEO, 2degrees, said, “Satellite technology is moving at an astonishing pace, and we’re pleased to be working with Lynk Global to get a satellite-to-cell phone service in 2degrees’ customers hands.”
While 2degrees has already begun marketing the service in numerous ways, Mr. Callander stressed the need to not overpromise. He said that the corporation would offer clients accurate and timely updates on the technology's progress and availability.
“2degrees is nothing if not straight up. While this is an exciting technology, you won’t hear us making claims for 18 months plus away; we’ll keep customers across actual progress, actual direct-to-cell satellites in operation, and actual customer availability, which is likely to be later this year.”
The test will take place in an area with no cellular connection, some 30 minutes north of Whanganui. Following the completion of successful testing, 2degrees and Lynk Global will begin network integration work before launching the service to clients.
Initially, the service will enable users to send and receive text messages on their existing mobile phones when a Lynk Global satellite passes overhead. As more satellites are launched by Lynk, the service will be available for longer durations and expand to include voice and data services.
“New Zealand is well served by world-class mobile technology, but we’re not a country contained to urban living; we’re a country of outdoor explorers, trampers, farmers and boaties. Through Lynk, 2degrees is exploring how best to enable connectivity for our customers when they’re beyond traditional coverage.”
Lynk Global has already inked over 30 business agreements and exhibited its technology in over a dozen countries across seven continents. The collaboration with 2degrees is an important step forward in their ambition to improve global communication via space-based cell towers.