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SpaceX has successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first set of Starlink satellites, designed to transmit satellite phone signals directly to smartphones from space with its direct-to-cell capabilities.

With their innovative direct-to-cell capabilities, Starlink aims to establish a novel and efficient communication infrastructure, bridging the gap between space-based technology and everyday smartphone usage.

Collaborators Utilizing Direct-to-Cell Technology

Wireless service providers from all over the world, such as KDDI in Japan, Australia's Optus, New Zealand's One NZ, T-Mobile in the US, Switzerland’s Salt, Chile’s Entel and Rogers in Canada, are among the collaborators utilizing SpaceX to deploy direct-to-cell technology.

The technology will leverage the capabilities of Starlink satellites which contain custom silicon phased arrays that can establish a direct connection with smartphones deployed on the ground, which is expected to address geographical challenges that generally impede the delivery of internet services and improved connectivity for users.

According to T-Mobile, the initial phase of the direct-to-cell service will begin with text messaging, with plans to expand to include voice and data capabilities in the next few years.

Meanwhile, One NZ announced that the live testing for the satellite coverage is scheduled to start later this year in Aotearoa. The network team at One NZ is working closely with SpaceX to ensure a smooth integration. One NZ’s existing 4G and 5G mobile networks will be complemented by the satellite coverage.

Industry experts expect this technology to revolutionize mobile communication and overcome gaps in network coverage, particularly in places that are underserved or remote. The successful launch of the first batch of Starlink satellites signifies the potential for worldwide collaboration in the advancement of communication technology.

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