The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted Lynk a commercial license to operate its satellite-based direct-to-mobile service.
It is expected that the commercial services will launch later this year, with Lynk claiming to be the first company to get such approval by the FCC.
Lynk is one of several companies that is seeking to connect mobile phones via satellites in space, in a bid to expand coverage to remote locations where mobile signal is non-existent.
Lynk specializes in deploying low-earth orbiting satellites and deployed its first satellite, the Lynk Tower 1 satellite into space earlier this year. It was its first spacecraft covered by an FCC license to operate a satellite direct-to-phone service.
"The FCC is the gold standard of telecommunication regulators," said Lynk COO and co-founder Margo Deckard. "They have deep technical knowledge and conducted a rigorous review process, which validates that Lynk’s first-of-its-kind satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone service is ready to be deployed globally.”
Lynk is scheduled to launch three more satellites before the end of the year, known as Lynk Towers, 2, 3, and 4. The company has signed contracts with 15 mobile network operators in 36 countries.
The satellite-direct-to-phone telecoms company recently signed an agreement with Belgian communications firm BICS to expand mobile coverage to remote rural areas. The company has also signed contracts with operators on seven island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean, including Telikom Limited in Papua New Guinea, Aliv in the Bahamas, and bmobile in the Solomon Islands, as well as Mongolia’s Unitel and Telecel Centrafrique in the Central African Republic.
The FCC license will enable Lynk the opportunity to provide emergency communications services during the event of natural disasters, where outages will typically occur.
AST SpaceMobile is also developing its own constellation of direct-to-mobile satellite communication satellites. It has agreements with the likes of Vodafone and AT&T.
Elon Musk's SpaceX recently struck a deal with US operator T-Mobile to provide mobile signal connectivity from space, via its Starlink satellites. T-Mobile is hopeful the venture will provide speeds of 2-4Mbps through Starlink's satellites.