News Releases

First SpaceX Satellites Launch for Direct to Cell Service with KDDI


Tokyo, January 4, 2024―KDDI is pleased to announce that on January 3, 2024, SpaceX successfully launched and deployed into orbit the first 6 Starlink satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities.

Leveraging SpaceX's Starlink satellites and KDDI's national wireless spectrum nationwide, satellite-to-cellular service is planned to be launched by the end of 2024 [Jump to the applicable section1], enabling connectivity in dead cell zones as long as there is a clear view of the sky. This will enhance KDDI's cellular connectivity to areas beyond the limits of traditional 4G and 5G networks including remote islands and mountains.
KDDI, in partnership with SpaceX, along with global cellular providers including T-Mobile, look forward to testing the direct to cell system using these satellites.

For more details, please visit Open link in a new window

<First Direct to Cell Satellites Encapsuled>

<Falcon 9>

<Launch of Falcon 9>

If you have difficulty to view the movie, please click the link below.

<Open link in a new windowDirect to Cell Satellite Payload Deployment into Orbit>


■7 Cellular Providers with Starlink Direct to Cell

■First Direct to Cell satellite

  • Leverages the v2 mini platform that is already used at scale by Starlink broadband
  • Large phased arrays to support communication to unmodified commercially available LTE phones
  • SpaceX built LTE radios and software to handle doppler and delay compensation
  • Connects to the existing Starlink constellation using intersatellite laser links
  • Inserted into Low Earth orbit using the highly reliable Falcon 9

■About Starlink's Direct to Cell

The world's most advanced satellite constellation using a low Earth orbit, Starlink is now deploying satellites with Direct to Cell capabilities at scale. A growing number of global telecommunication carriers are already working with Starlink to ultimately deliver ubiquitous text, voice, and data wherever their subscribers can see the sky, all over the globe. Starlink's Direct to Cell works with existing phones and IoT devices with common LTE standards, requiring no changes to hardware, firmware, or downloading apps. Learn more at Open link in a new

  • [1]
    Availability subject to regulatory approval. Starting with SMS with voice and data to follow.
  • *The information contained in the articles is current at the time of publication.
    Products, service fees, service content and specifications, contact information, and other details are subject to change without notice.