Lynk Global is a company developing a satellite-to-mobile-phone satellite constellation that can essentially provide a "cell tower in space" capability for truly global mobile phone service coverage, even in underserved rural areas without cellular coverage.
Lynk has requested a license from the US Federal Communications Commission to launch up to ten test satellites as early as 2022, with the goal to begin continuous global coverage in 2025 using a constellation of several thousand satellites.
Lynk Global Inc. was founded in 2017 by Charles Miller, Margo Deckard, and Tyghe Speidel. The business plan for Lynk came out of a multi-year effort to look for the killer app for small satellites, specifically satellites as small as cubesat-class nanosatellites, which led to the breakthrough of connecting a satellite directly to a mobile phone. The idea has long been thought to not be possible, but the Lynk concept and patents made Lynk founders and investors think it was achievable. Lynk raised US$20 million from investors during early years and expects to raise a US$100 million round later in 2021.
In February 2020, Lynk "sent the world's first text message from a satellite in orbit to a standard mobile phone on the ground" in a test supported by both NASA and several mobile network operators.
On 25 May 2021, Lynk filed with the US telecommunications regulator, the FCC, to license Lynk's satellites and multiple satellite launches, with the goal to enable global mobile connectivity from space-based assets.
By May 2021, Lynk had launched four "cell-tower-in-space" test satellites into orbit. The fifth one, Shannon, was launched on 29 June 2021 and is a test sat of a new design suitable for mass production. Shannon is larger and operates at a higher power level and greater telecomm capacity than the earlier test sats. The design is capable of being scaled up to provide greater communications throughput.
Lynk technology connects to mobile phones on the ground in a way similar to roaming networks, where the satellite mobile service will connect to another available cellular network when outside the range of its home network. To accomplish the regulatory side of this novel telecommunications method will require that Lynk work through the various geographically-dispersed, and often country-specific, mobile network operators in any area of the world in which the service is to be available.