KDDI, a Japanese telecom company, and SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturer, have formally entered into a collaborative agreement. According to the terms of this agreement, KDDI will leverage SpaceX’s Starlink technology, in conjunction with KDDI’s wireless spectrum, to deliver satellite-based cellular service across Japan.
The primary objective of this partnership is to significantly enhance KDDI’s cellular coverage in regions that lie beyond the scope of conventional 4G/5G networks. These encompass rural locales, remote islands, and mountainous terrains where connectivity has traditionally been challenging to establish.
KDDI and SpaceX share a mutual vision of facilitating connectivity for individuals who are currently underserved in terms of network access. This approach to connectivity will enable previously unreachable areas to now receive cellular signals, bridging the gap in service provision from existing providers.
The initial phase of implementation is slated to commence with SMS text services, projected to debut as early as 2024. Subsequently, the collaboration aims to extend its offerings to encompass voice and data services.
Furthermore, KDDI and SpaceX extend an open invitation to telecommunications carriers worldwide, encouraging them to become part of the ecosystem that brings satellite-enabled connectivity to their respective customer bases. This step seeks to foster collaboration within the industry, promoting advancements in network capabilities.
Both companies emphasize that the successful rollout of this service is contingent upon the establishment and adherence to relevant radio-related laws and regulations within Japan.
Earlier this year, SpaceX also launched its low-earth satellite broadband internet service called Starlink in the Philippines. The Starlink service from SpaceX employs a network of low-earth orbit satellites to provide connectivity especially to remote areas that cannot be reached by traditional connectivity such as fiber or when communications are interfered with by natural catastrophes.