Tesla Decides Not to Apply Starlink Internet Services in Chinese Mainland

The Chinese media out Cnstock learned from Tesla China on Thursday that the U.S. electric vehicle firm has no plans to apply Starlink services in Chinese mainland at present. All vehicles and charging stations across the domestic market will apply network services provided by Chinese telecom operators, and all relevant data will be kept in China.

Starlink is a network service launched by SpaceX to provide high-speed internet access through a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit, helping to solve the problem of poor coverage in some remote areas. It is worth noting that SpaceX and Tesla – while both founded and headed up by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk – are completely independent companies.

Some media outlets stated recently that in order to improve customer experience, some Tesla Superchargers in the U.S. installed Starlink antennas to provide wireless network services for Tesla vehicles and customers. The person in charge of Tesla China said that there were no plans to apply similar Starlink services in mainland China.

According to industry professionals cited in the report, as well as data released by the Federal Communications Commission, about 21 million people in the U.S. do not have access to broadband networks. The situation is more serious in rural areas. The Pew Research Center estimates that about one-third of Americans living in rural areas do not have broadband in their homes, which makes it difficult to meet the network service needs of vehicles, so they apply Starlink services. In mainland China, Chinese telecom operators including China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom can meet Tesla’s signal coverage strength requirements without using Starlink’s satellite internet system.

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According to the regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), relevant international treaties and national laws and regulations, enterprises need to obtain approval from local regulatory authorities before introducing Starlink services.

In addition to legal provisions, hardware conditions are another reason for not applying Starlink in mainland China. Starlink needs to be equipped with supporting receivers before its application, and the receivers must be fixed in an open and roofless position, which means that it is impossible for Tesla to apply Starlink in mainland China, whether for vehicles or charging stations.