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SpaceX Preps For Global Tests Of Cellular Starlink System

The company asks the FCC for clearance to test the cellular Starlink technology in several other markets, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand.

SpaceX is asking for regulatory clearance to expand testing for its cellular Starlink system outside the US, including Canada, Australia, and Japan.

The company has requested the special temporary authority from the FCC, according to a new regulatory filing. The goal is to test the cellular Starlink technology outside the US for 180 days starting on May 1.

During the tests, SpaceX will beam the internet connectivity from the company’s “Direct to Cell” satellites to unmodified phones on the ground. In the US, SpaceX plans on delivering the broadband through AT&T. But elsewhere, the company has struck partnerships with local carriers, with the aim of using their licensed radio spectrum to send the internet data to customers' phones.

SpaceX has already reached deals with seven carriers, including Rogers in Canada, Optus in Australia, and KDDI in Japan. The company’s FCC filing also notes it could expand the cellular Starlink testing to four other markets, including New Zealand, Chile, Peru, and Switzerland. In each country, though, it’ll also need to secure authorization “from the relevant local administrations" before testing can start, the company said.

“Testing will likely continue until SpaceX has received commercial authority to deliver supplemental coverage from space from the commission and the relevant local administration,” SpaceX added in the FCC filing.

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