UbiquitiLink Wants to Launch Satellite “Cell Towers”
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched to the International Space Station last week carried a tiny package that could eventually lead to the smartphone you have in your pocket getting cell service from space. If it works, the instrument could be a precursor to a giant constellation of thousands of mini-satellites that function as cell towers circulating all over the globe.
The package is the product of a startup called UbiquitiLink, the latest company to propose putting a mega-constellation of satellites into low orbit above Earth. But unlike many of these other proposed satellite projects — such as those of SpaceX, OneWeb, or Amazon — UbiquitiLink is not hoping to beam specialized internet connections from space. Instead, the company is solely focused on cellphone service, with the goal of placing small satellites into orbit that any mobile phone can connect to seamlessly, without any changes being made to the phones themselves. “There are 5.2 billion phone users on the planet,” Charles Miller, co-founder and CEO of UbiquitiLink, tells The Verge. “We’re going to turn all their phones into satellite phones.”