A Falcon 9 rocket launched 21 Starlink satellites into orbit. Six of them are capable of providing the Direct to Cell service. This is stated in SpaceX’s announcement on the X platform.

According to Elon Musk, the service will allow provide communication anywhere on Earth. But he also noted that the service will not be able to compete with existing land-based cellular networks.

As part of the project, SpaceX is currently working with T-Mobile, Rogers, KDDI, Optus, One New Zealand, Salt Mobile AG, and Entel Chile.

Direct to Cell is a service that will make Starlink satellite communications available on ordinary smartphones. It will allow exchanging files, text and voice messages via a satellite connection.

This service was announced for launch in 2024. Direct to Cell will enable the transmission of 4G LTE communication signals from satellites to regular smartphones. The Federal Communications Commission granted SpaceX permission to test the Direct to Cell service last December.