Elon Musk just announced that Starlink’s upcoming second-generation internet satellite includes cellular antennas for communications with phones from T-Mobile in the US, and potentially other operators as well.
After the event, he responded to tweets asking if communications would work with Tesla’s electric cars, which currently connect to AT&T’s LTE network. According to Muskthe answer is yes.
He did not go into detail about how everything works or how much data owners expect to access from communications when they are somewhere out of reach of landline cell phone towers. During the event, Musk said that Starlink’s satellite-to-cellular coverage will be able to provide a 2-4 Mbps link, which is shared by everyone in the satellite’s coverage area. That probably won’t be enough for some premium connectivity features, like streaming live video from your car’s cameras. However, a connection that works at all, “anywhere you look up at the sky”, is better than no potential connection.
in a comment on the edgeanalyst at LightShed Partners Walter Beck noted that enabling access could work similarly to MVNOs like Google Fi, which uses several carriers as its backbone, or that Musk could shift the carrier’s deal away from AT&T in the future.