Starlink Cell Service Test Being Blocked by AT&T, Says SpaceX

SpaceX’s plans to test its Starlink cellular service later this year have hit a roadblock, as AT&T and the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) have lodged complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

SpaceX filed a Special Temporary Authority (STA) application earlier this month, aiming to launch a second-generation Starlink satellite equipped with “direct-to-cellular communications payloads” by December 1. The test would utilize T-Mobile’s “PCS G-Block” radio spectrum to beam data to smartphones.

Both AT&T and RWA have called on the FCC to require SpaceX to provide more technical details and prove that the technology won’t interfere with other carriers, reports PCMag.

AT&T argues that SpaceX should seek an experimental license from the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, rather than an STA. The RWA concurs, stating that any testing should be authorized through an experimental license.

In response, SpaceX has urged the FCC to swiftly approve its STA application. The company stated that the objections from AT&T and RWA are “baseless procedural claims” and offer no substantive reason for denial. SpaceX aims to roll out its Starlink cellular service as early as next year, putting it in direct competition with AST Space Mobile’s cellular satellite system, in which AT&T is a partner.