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The FCC wants to get satellite-to-smartphone service rolling

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is starting to set up the legal framework that would let companies provide satellite service directly to cell phones, like SpaceX, T-Mobile, AST Spacemobile, and Lynk are trying to do. Today it adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that lays out how companies would get the appropriate licenses, what spectrum they’d be able to use, and a “clear and transparent processes” for the regulator to support their efforts.

The main focus of the proposal is the satellite companies that are planning on working with existing cell carriers, and using parts of the spectrum traditionally reserved for standards like 5G. The benefit to this approach is that it allows phones to talk to satellites without the…

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