By Alice Seeley

For Americans living in the country’s most remote areas, wireless service may be coming soon. Last week, wireless provider T-Mobile U.S. Inc announced a partnership with the Spacecraft engineering company SpaceX to bring cell phone connectivity everywhere in the United States.

According to a press release from SpaceX’s Chief Engineer Elon Musk, despite powerful LTE and 5G terrestrial wireless networks, more than 20% of the United States and 90% of the Earth still do not have wireless service. Wireless providers have struggled to service these areas due to land-use restrictions such as National Parks, mountains, and deserts. In these areas, people are either disconnected, which is dangerous in times of emergencies or forced to use an expensive satellite phone.

Providing wireless service everywhere “will save lives,” according to Musk. His goal is to eliminate all the dead zones in the world.

“The important thing about this is that it means there are no dead zones anywhere in the world for your cell phone,” stated Musk. “We’re incredibly excited to do this with T-Mobile.”

The companies plan to provide customers wireless service everywhere in the continental U.S., Hawaii, parts of Alaska, Puerto Rico, and territorial waters, even outside the signal of T-Mobile’s network. The companies plan to connect customers’ cell phones to SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. Musk emphasized that customers will not have to get a new phone.

“We are constructing special antenna. … They are actually very big antenna that are extremely advanced,”

he said. “The important thing is you will not need to get a new phone. The phone you currently have will work.”

By the end of 2023, a beta version of this service will be offered in select areas and will only include text messaging, such as SMS and MMS messages. The companies plan to add voice and data coverage eventually.