SpaceX and T-Mobile have announced a plan to bring universal cellular connectivity to the United States to eradicate mobile dead zones. While LTE and 5G now cover a lot of the country, 20% of the U.S.’ land area remains a mobile dead zone. Under the plan, the two companies will bring connectivity to the continental U.S., Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, territorial waters, including in places that the T-Mobile network doesn’t even cover.
People living in other countries may be a bit disappointed that the plan is limited to the U.S. To assuage these people, the two firms have issued an invitation for carriers around the world to join and collaborate in the Coverage Above and Beyond initiative to boost connectivity. T-Mobile said it will offer reciprocal roaming to providers it works with to help bring about global connectivity.
Explaining the benefits that this move will have for consumers, SpaceX said:
“This service will have a tremendous impact on the safety, peace of mind, and individual and business opportunities around the globe. The applications range from connecting hikers in national parks, rural communities, remote sensors and devices, and people and devices in emergency situations, such as firefighters.”
SpaceX clarified that end users will not have to modify their mobile phone to use the service even when outside terrestrial coverage. No new firmware, software update, or apps will be needed either to use the service.
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