Using Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX, the telecommunications company says it will be able to provide service in the half-million square miles currently unreached by cell signals in the United States.
“From the middle of Death Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains or even that persistent neighborhood dead zone, T-Mobile and SpaceX have a vision to give customers a crucial additional layer of connectivity in areas previously unreachable by cell signals from any provider,” a press release explained. “And the service aims to work with the phone already in your pocket. The vast majority of smartphones already on T-Mobile’s network will be compatible with the new service using the device’s existing radio. No extra equipment to buy. It just works.”
T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the partnership at an event on Starbase, the Texas facility from which SpaceX tests and launches its Starship rocket.
“The important thing about this is that it means there are no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phone,” Musk said. The billionaire added on social media that the second-generation satellites supporting the network will launch next year and confirmed that Tesla vehicles will be able to use the service.
“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,” Sievert remarked. “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.”
SpaceX signed a deal with Hawaiian Airlines earlier this year to provide free wireless internet for passengers using Starlink. According to Hawaiian Airlines CMO Avi Mannis, however, the company has to process “certification issues” before implementing the service.
Beyond leading SpaceX and Tesla, Musk made a proposal earlier this year to purchase the entirety of social media company Twitter for $44 billion. The deal stalled as the legal team for the world’s richest man argued that Twitter’s disclosed quantity of false or spam accounts is inaccurate — perhaps numbering as high as 33% rather than the reported 5%. A lower number of monetizable daily active users (mDAU) than the number Twitter has provided could justify a lower company valuation.
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the company’s former head of security who reported directly to the CEO, claimed in a whistleblower report obtained by multiple outlets that Twitter officials do not have the resources or motivation necessary to determine the true number of bots on the platform.
“We have already issued a subpoena for Mr. Zatko, and we found his exit and that of other key employees curious in light of what we have been finding,” Alex Spiro, an attorney for Musk, told CNN.
Zatko also claimed that Twitter leadership misled board members and government officials about potential vulnerabilities that left the platform open to hacking, foreign manipulation, and spying. He also said that one or more current employees are working for a foreign intelligence agency.