SpaceX, T-Mobile try to connect remote areas with satellites

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. network of (something) / ˈnɛtˌwɜrk ʌv / (n.) – a system where different things are connected

    Venice has a network of canals that go through the city.

  2. coverage / ˈkʌv ər ɪdʒ / (n.) – the places reached by phone or internet connection service

    Our home in the mountains is far from the telephone company’s coverage area.

  3. existing / ɪgˈzɪs tɪŋ / (adj.) – already present or being used

    We need to make some revisions to the existing guidelines.

  4. carrier / ˈkær i ər / (n.) – a telecommunications company

    My carrier provides affordable mobile data plans.

  5. dead zone / dɛd zoʊn / (n.) – a place without a mobile signal

    The faraway island is a dead zone. You can’t receive or make calls while you’re there.


Read the text below.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX and T-Mobile are teaming up in an attempt to connect mobile devices through a network of satellites, providing coverage to even the most isolated places.

Under the plan, T-Mobile’s wireless network would be routed through SpaceX Starlink satellites that are in low Earth orbit.

T-Mobile said that the vast majority of smartphones already on its network will be compatible with the new service using the device’s existing radio.

The companies are looking to provide text coverage, including SMS, MMS and participating messaging apps, nearly everywhere in the continental U.S., Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico and territorial waters starting with a beta in select areas by the end of next year. They want to add voice and data coverage at a later time.

T-Mobile and SpaceX say they are ready to partner with other carriers to help expand the service worldwide.

“The important thing about this is that it means there’s no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cellphone,” Elon Musk said during a live event at a SpaceX facility in Texas.

The billionaire and Tesla CEO, who is engaged in a legal battle with Twitter, emphasized that one of the key benefits of the service will be that it can help people who are in life-threatening situations in remote areas, potentially saving lives.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX and T-Mobile are teaming up to provide coverage to even the most isolated places. Why do you think it’s important to have a mobile connection even in remote areas? Discuss.
  • How do you think this move will benefit SpaceX and T-Mobile? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think your country’s mobile and internet services are satisfactory? In your opinion, what other improvements do these services need (ex. speed, coverage)? Discuss.
  • Given the services SpaceX offers (ex. having a lot of satellites, bigger network coverage), would you also like them to partner with a local company in your country? Discuss.