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When did SpaceX send the first text messages over Starlink?

Answer: Jan. 8.

A smartphone laying on a white surface with a notification on it's screen that reads "1 new message."
SpaceX’s Starlink is one of many companies hoping to use the vastness of space to improve connectivity on Earth. It has been using satellites to bring Internet connectivity to underserved areas for several years now, but this year marks a big step forward with the first text messages sent using the satellites.

This is thanks to the Direct to Cell capabilities on Starlink’s newest batch of satellites launched Jan. 2. Cellphones aren’t designed to connect to satellites, so the challenge for the Starlink team was to design a satellite that could reach a cellphone without having to modify it. The result is satellites “with innovative new custom silicon, phased array antennas, and advanced software algorithms that overcome these challenges and provide standard LTE service to cellphones on the ground.”

The first messages were sent and received using this system on Monday, Jan. 8, using the T-Mobile network spectrum. Starlink plans to make texting available to customers in 2024 with voice, data and IoT capabilities expected in 2025.