With Starlink Internet’s success, you’re probably wondering does Starlink have phone service.
It’s common for internet providers to include a phone and TV service in their plans. So it wouldn’t be a surprise for Starlink to have phone service.
Starlink has amassed a subscriber base of more than 1,000,000 users.
Most of them are in areas with weak or unavailable phone service.
Currently, Starlink does not have phone services.
However, it has announced plans to team up with phone service providers to enable Starlink cell phone services.
Does Starlink have the potential for phone services? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- Could Cell Phones Use Starlink Satellites?
- Does Starlink Offer Satellite Phone Service
- Will Starlink Have Cell Phone Service
- Does Starlink Improve Cell Phone Service?
- Conclusion: Should You Be Excited about Starlink Phone Service?
Could Cell Phones Use Starlink Satellites?
Satellites enable cell phone service.
The quick answer to this question is yes. Cell phones could use Starlink satellites.
Cell phones transmit signals as electromagnetic waves.
However, those waves don’t travel too far since they get blocked by physical structures at ground level.
Therefore, cell towers are erected to distribute cell phone signals to other devices while maintaining signal strength.
The distribution happens when the signal goes through fiber optic cables. A receiver-transmitter tower then blasts the signal to the receiver’s cell phone.
Similarly, Starlink satellites would relay cell phone signals and enable cell service.
Elon Musk revealed that Starlink subscribers could get the option to use third-party phones with the phone service.
That means you could make your everyday phone a Starlink internet phone.
Satellite phones are not a new concept. Providers such as Iridium have been at it for a long time.
Ideally, Starlink would have to have enough satellites in low-earth orbit to make seamless transmission possible.
There are already FCC-approved plans to have about 30,000 Starlink satellites in space.
Those 30,000 satellites would constantly transmit signals to ground stations that would relay internet and cellular signals to homes and businesses.
Cell phones use these transmissions to send texts, receive calls and access the internet directly.
Does Starlink Offer Satellite Phone Service
Starlink currently does not offer exclusive Satellite phone services. However, you can enable Starlink to provide phone service through Wi-Fi calling or VoIP.
Starlink’s primary focus is satellite internet.
But after researchers reverse-engineered Starlink satellite signal to enable GPS-positioning similar to Google Maps, satellite-to-ground cell phone service is not too far off the mark.
Considering that their customer base is mostly in underserved areas, a Starlink satellite phone service could make it easier and faster to make calls in hard-to-reach areas.
As it stands, Starlink’s satellites might not sustain lossless phone communication.
Users have complained about Starlink Internet’s sudden interruptions when satellites lose connection with ground-based stations and home-based satellites.
You can enable wifi calling on your iPhone by going to settings and turning on “WiFi calling” in the “CELLULAR menu.”
Ensure you enable the “Wi-Fi calling on this iPhone” setting.
However, your iPhone might still want to connect to a cellular network during Wi-Fi calling.
Turn on airplane mode to prevent cellular connections.
On Android, go to Call Settings and enable Wi-Fi Calling under Advanced calling or Wi-Fi calling.
Your Android-powered phone and OS must be compatible with Wi-Fi calling.
You might need to input a physical address for emergency purposes.
Note: Wi-Fi calling over Starlink internet will only work when around your dish.
Otherwise, you’d have to get the Starlink RV plan to mount a dish on your vehicle or RV.
Alternatively, you can use Starlink satellite to create Starlink VoIP.
Starlink works with VoIP services such as Skype.
Alternatively, you can enroll for services such as MajicJack, enabling you to make cheap calls with Starlink.
The only downside would be Starlink’s currently shaky latency numbers.
Will Starlink Have Cell Phone Service
Starlink cell service will be vital in unreachable areas
Starlink will have cell phone service. It will partner with the cell phone service provider T-Mobile as the first provider and possibly more service providers later.
The FCC is focused on helping satellite service providers plug gaps in cell service delivery in minimal-signal areas.
Starlink announced in 2022 that they are in talks with T-Mobile to extend cellular service, which T-Mobile does not cover.
That way, Starlink could benefit from T-Mobile’s already-established user base.
In return, T-Mobile would have a company presence in more places in the US and possibly globally.
The FCC pointed out Starlink as an eligible telecommunication carrier (ETC). The ETC qualification is essential for a company such as Starlink.
It allows a satellite company to apply for government funding to provide service to remote areas with minimal coverage.
Also, it qualifies Starlink to receive reimbursements from FCC’s lifeline program.
The program offers discounts to telecommunication companies that provide services to low-income populations.
Still, SpaceX says the service will not be immediately available. The early stages will only have a text messaging service.
Starlink will then expand the service to voice and internet.
Does Starlink Improve Cell Phone Service?
Starlink will improve cell phone services once their plan is complete.
Satellite telephony is a costly undertaking. Iridium charges about $1 per minute or 300 voice minutes for $125 monthly.
Here’s how Starlink will improve cell phone service.
One of Starlink’s guarantees is that their cell phone service would cost the same or marginally above standard call rates.
DSL or fiber optic cables are susceptible to damage and signal interruption.
Once Starlink has its satellites in low-earth orbit, subscribers might benefit from low-latency and clearer calls over better satellite signals.
Users in underserved areas might not have to endure dropped calls anymore.
Starlink phone service is a stationery service unless you get Starlink RV or mount a satellite dish on your vehicle.
(Mounting a satellite on your vehicle is not practical for everyday use.)
The Starlink T-Mobile collaboration might be the beginning of team-ups with other providers, such as Verizon.
Ultimately, Starlink cell service will be common in the US and perhaps in international waters.
No Cellular Network Requirement
If the Starlink phone service were implemented, it would not need a cellular network.
The low-earth orbit satellites and Space X ground stations would act as transmitters to deliver signals.
Conclusion: Should You Be Excited about Starlink Phone Service?
Cell phone service is due for a shake-up. Previously underserved areas might get clear cell phone service when Starlink delivers on its promise.
You should look forward to Starlink phone service if you want more affordable satellite phone service and clearer reception.
Until Starlink delivers the service, use its satellites for Wi-Fi and VoIP calling.