Tesla wants to connect its cars to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network

The Starlink satellite network of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company, will be accessible from Tesla vehicles via 5G from operator T-Mobile. We can send SMS or make phone calls from anywhere in the world.

Starlink: behind this name that smacks of SF hides the satellite network deployed by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company. Its objective is to provide very high speed internet access to people residing in areas poorly served by traditional infrastructures.

In May 2021, a journalist from the CNBC channel questioned Elon Musk on a request for authorization filed by SpaceX with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to connect vehicles to the Starlink network. Elon Musk had considered it possible before the end of the year, in particular concerning planes, boats, trucks and other motorhomes. On the other hand, the mission was considered difficult by the magnate concerning Tesla cars, because of the congestion of the necessary terminal.

SpaceX seems to have found the solution with the mobile operator T-Mobile. During a joint event, the two companies announced the possibility of connecting, via a smartphone, to the satellite network using T-Mobile’s 5G spectrum. The speed of this connection will be limited between 2 and 4 Mb/s per coverage area. Not enough to stream video, but enough to make a call or send an SMS from any region of the globe covered by Starlink.

All Tesla owners who subscribe to a T-Mobile plan will therefore benefit from this superior coverage at no additional cost. Access to the Starlink network via 5G will also be able to benefit other operators such as AT&T. This North American operator, which equips Tesla, caused panic in February 2022 with the closure of its 3G network in favor of 4G/LTE.

As a result, Model S produced before June 2015 and without a 4G modem no longer benefited from connected services, except through wifi or a paid update ($200). It remains to be seen whether Tesla will charge for this new service or whether it will be included in the $99/month Premium Connectivity subscription.

The availability of the new service will not occur before the end of 2023 and the putting into orbit of Starlink Gen 2 satellites, which are much larger and equipped with the antennas necessary for cellular connections. It remains to be seen whether Europe will also be able to access it.

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