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Starlink to Launch Satellite Cellular Service for Users in Autumn

SpaceX plans to launch its Starlink satellite cellular service this fall. The company has asked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to launch the service within this time frame. In addition, in the document, SpaceX asks the FCC to relax restrictions on radio emissions to improve coverage of the service.

SpaceX revealed the target launch date in a document regarding new FCC rules for providing satellite communications to US carriers, known as Supplemental Coverage from Space (SCS), which went into effect on May 30.

“SpaceX supports nearly all of the Commission’s recent SCS rulings and expects to launch commercial direct-to-cellular service in the United States this fall,” the company said in the filing.

It also outlines SpaceX’s long-term goals for the Starlink Direct to Cell system, which will provide the ability to transmit Internet data to regular smartphones, allowing people to connect to remote parts of the planet that are not accessible to cellular communications.

SpaceX said it currently plans to provide texting, voice communication and web browsing capabilities through its secondary coverage network. “While this enhanced service will not replace terrestrial mobile networks, it will provide an expanded source of communications where those networks do not exist,” SpaceX said.

SpaceX also asked the commission to relax the aggregate radio frequency limit for cellular satellites, suggesting that instead of a blanket cap on total out-of-band power flux-density (PFD), more detailed “band-specific limits” could be introduced that could help the company improve coverage and reliability of the future Starlink cellular communications system.

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