AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) CEO John Stankey said his company is way ahead of T-Mobile US, Inc (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk in efforts to provide mobile phone service to remote areas via satellites.
"I would say we probably have an 18-month lead on this," Stankey said in a Bloomberg interview. "SpaceX is going to have to go through the same process. And they're not going to have their satellite up for testing until the middle of next year."
They had announced plans to offer wireless phone and internet connectivity to remote regions through a series of low-Earth orbit satellites still being launched.
In August, T-Mobile and Musk, operating through his company SpaceX, announced a service they said would save lives by beaming signals to and from areas like remote mountain tops and seas where hikers or sailors may be stranded.
AT&T worked with AST SpaceMobile, Inc (NASDAQ: ASTS). The companies will need further approval from the Federal Communications Commission for satellites to serve as cell sites in space.
The initial uses for satellite communications will be for emergency services, including connectivity for FirstNet, a government-run network. A consumer application would follow later.
Satellite communications will inevitably be a supplement to mobile service, he said.
One of Apple's significant new features is connecting to satellites to send emergency messages without WiFi or cellular data.
Price Action: T shares traded lower by 0.14% at $15.63 in the premarket on the last check Thursday.
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