http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/soon-your-cell-phone-will-be-picking-up-signals-from-space/article/555226

Soon your cell phone will be picking up signals from space

Posted Aug 3, 2019 by Tim Sandle
A space startup has announced plans, following a successful test, to launch thousands of satellite ‘cell towers’ in space which will connect to the typical smartphone and which carry the promise of improved communications.
The Cygnus resupply ship slowly approaches the International Space Station in October 2016
The Cygnus resupply ship slowly approaches the International Space Station in October 2016
, NASA TV/AFP/File
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which was sent to the International Space Station in July 2019, was carrying a small object as part of its payload. The small device is designed to one day create a system whereby users will receive their smartphone signals from space. The advantage of this will mean an end to loss coverage in areas with sophisticated smartphone network and it will deliver communication signals for all manner of mobile devices to every part of the world.
The test instrument has been designed to asses the feasibility of the project, acting as a precursor for a complex constellation composed of thousands of mini-satellites which will work as cell towers covering every part of Earth. The reason for looking upwards for the solution is because the limits of reception and wireless networks are a factor of Earth-bound architecture and geology.
The company behind the project is UbiquitiLink. The company was founded in 2016 by Charles Miller, Margo Deckard, Tyghe Speidel and it is based in the Washington DC area of the U.S.
While other companies have discussed providing communications from devices orbiting the globe (such as SpaceX, OneWeb, and Amazon) UbiquitiLink is focusing only on cell phone communication, whereas the other ideas center on Internet services. Speaking with The Verge, Charles Miller, co-founder and CEO of UbiquitiLink says: "There are 5.2 billion phone users on the planet. We’re going to turn all their phones into satellite phones.” About 750 million of the world’s 5.2 billion cellphone subscribers cannot connect to terrestrial mobile networks at any given time.
To support the project, UbiquitiLink has raised more than $12 million. UbiquitiLink has established relationships with 28 partners, including 21 mobile network operators and the plan is to start with text messaging first.