SpaceX's launch of Falcon 9 on the 3rd of January was unique in that it included 6 new starlink V2 mini satellites, capable of direct smartphone connectivity. This was followed in short order by SpaceX successfully relaying their first text message, using these satellites. This development is part of a broader trend where the options for global easy, ubiquitous, and cost-effective connectivity are starting expanding. This activity is not just confined to Starlink alone; emerging IoT constellations like Sateliot, OQ Tech and others like Skylo are contributing to this emerging landscape.
Today, only 10% of the world's surface is covered by terrestrial connectivity. The arrival of low cost space based connectivity holds the promise of bridging this gap. For consumers in underserved or remote areas, this means newfound access to communication and information. The potential to extend connectivity to the remaining 90% of the globe provides a path to a more connected, inclusive, and digitally empowered global community.
Well, that was fast. SpaceX just broke in its new direct-to-cell Starlink satellites, using one of them to send text messages for the first time.