Tesla, Inc. TSLA announced late Thursday a partnership with T-Mobile US, Inc. TMUS for providing cellular connectivity everywhere in the US
Musk Pips Apple With Cellular Phones? Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert touted the new feature, dubbed “Coverage Above and Beyond” in an event live-streamed from the former’s SpaceX facility in South Texas. This would be available to T-Mobile users in 2023, and potentially expand to other cellular service providers as well.
The satellite-phone connectivity refers to mobile phones connecting to other phones or to a telephone network by radio through orbiting satellites, rather than through terrestrial cell sites, which is the current norm.
And Musk confirmed through a tweet that Tesla vehicles will also offer this feature of linking to Starlink satellites for a low-bandwidth internet connection.
Incidentally, iPhone maker Apple, Inc. AAPL has long been rumored to be working on a satellite phone. Every year ahead of the launch of the new iteration of the iPhone, rumors of a potential announcement in this regard float around.
Apple is rumored to be teaming up with Globalstar, Inc. GSATwhich operates a low Earth orbit satellite constellation for satellite phones and low-speed data communications, for this purpose.
See also: Tesla EVs Could Soon Directly Connect With Starlink Satellites For Internet, Musk Says Following T-Mobile Partnership
The speculation gained ground after Tim Farrar, a satellite communications consultant, tweeted this week that the Tesla-T-Mobile event was meant to preempt Apple’s announcement on Sept. 7.
Reacting to the rumors, Globalstar shares were up 5.29% on Friday, when most other stocks sank in reaction to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s inflation warning.
Munster Views Announcement Likely: Prominent Apple analyst and Loup Funds co-founder Gene Munster said on Friday that the iPhone 14, to be launched at the Sept. 7 event, dubbed “Far Out,” could feature satellite phone connectivity.
The feature could most likely be added to the iPhone 14 Pro Max variant, he suggested. He sees Musk’s Starlink, T-Mobile as potential partners.
Commenting on the Starlink-T-Mobile partnership, Munster said the feature could be a game-changer on road trips and neighborhoods with bad cellular connectivity. However, the Starlink phone internet service is slow, only about half as fast as 4G, and could slow or stop when there are obstacles such as trees or when the user is inside a house, the venture capitalist said.
“Phones of the future will have a combo data of 5G/satellite,” he added.
Apple, according to Munster, has the power to “will that future into a reality.”