Does Starlink Offer Satellite Phone Service?

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Starlink is a satellite internet service operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company. One of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Starlink is whether or not they offer satellite phone service. Currently, Starlink doesn’t offer phones or satellite phone service, but they have plans to utilize their satellite network for mobile phone connectivity.

It is possible to use Starlink as a satellite phone of sorts, by taking advantage of Starlink RV and Wifi calling.

In this article, we’ll explain Starlink’s future satellite phone plans. We’ll also cover current Starlink compatibility with mobile phones. Finally, we’ll show you how you can create our own satellite communication system using Starlink RV and your existing mobile phone.

Starlink phones

SpaceExplored reports that Starlink has filled a request to the FCC that will allow them to use the 2GHz frequency. This is a significant development because the 2GHz frequency band would allow smaller devices, like cell phones, to receive and transmit data from the Starlink satellite constellation.

In the FCC filing, Starlink doesn’t give details on the satellite receiver device. But they do mention a smaller, portable device:

Americans are increasingly demanding connectivity wherever they are, whenever they want, and whatever they are doing. In particular, they have grown accustomed to being able to connect using small, hand-held devices that they can carry with them or affix to mobile platforms.

Starlink FCC Filing, 7/25/2022

Their interest in the 2GHz band, and their indications of new hardware, means we could see a mobile hotspot type of device in the future. It also means we could potentially see integrations with phone manufacturers, who could possible build in support for Starlink satellite communication on the 2GHz band.

Starlink and T-Mobile partnership

In August 2022, Starlink and T-Mobile announced a partnership for a global emergency communications system. Starlink’s newest satellites will be deployed with a special antenna capable of communicating with existing cell phone hardware.

The new system will use T-Mobile’s existing cellular frequency bands. For now, the global roaming service will support very low data messaging, but Elon Musk has indicated support for voice calls and real-time messaging in the future.

It’s possible that Starlink will partner with other carriers in the future. One day, we may see nearly all cell phones and plans with the capability of emergency messaging globally, where cell signals don’t exist. With a clear view of the sky, cell phones could connect to the Starlink satellites from anywhere in the world.

Current Starlink phone compatibility

Currently, Starlink is fully compatible with Wifi calling. That means you can use your cell phone to make calls by connecting to the Starlink Wifi network in your Starlink system.

Wifi calling is supported by most mobile carriers, but it’s important that you check with your own carrier to make sure your phone and plan support the Wifi calling feature. You’ll also need to be within Wifi range of your Starlink router in order to use the Wifi calling feature via Starlink.

Starlink internet is just like any other internet service, and supports video calling, Wifi texting, etc.

Using Starlink RV as a satellite phone

Starlink RV is a service tier from Starlink that enables you to travel and use Starlink virtually anywhere with active satellite coverage. RV’ers, van dwellers, overlanders, and campers have all taken advantage of Starlink RV to have internet service on the go.

The FCC has also recently authorized Starlink to operate in-motion. That means you can mount the Starlink dish to the roof of your RV, car, or truck, and experience fast satellite internet while moving.

If we combine the ability to use Wifi calling with Starlink RV internet, we essentially get a Starlink satellite phone that works anywhere with enough power to run the dish. Simply take Starlink RV with you when you venture out of cell phone range, and use Wifi calling and texting to communicate.

It’s important to note that Starlink doesn’t officially support using Starlink in-motion yet, despite the FCC’s approval. It will void your warranty if it is damaged!

Conclusion

Starlink does not currently offer phones or satellite phone service, they just provide home and RV internet via their satellite constellation at this time. Starlink did partner with T-Mobile with plans to offer satellite messaging services globally, though existing phone hardware.

Starlink has also indicated that they plan to introduce smaller, mobile receivers in the future. It’s possible we could see portable Starlink hotspots, or even further cell phone integration.

For now, Starlink customers will have to rely on Wifi calling using their existing cell phones. As we discussed, it’s also possible to use Starlink RV to enable on the go Wifi calling virtually anywhere with satellite coverage.

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