Elon Musk’s satellite play SpaceX could be set to strike a partnership with Vodafone UK as part of a hunt for spectrum deals to expand its broadband service in the country, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

The newspaper reported SpaceX is pushing for spectrum deals to allow its Starlink satellite service to connect to fibre internet networks and thus expand its offering more rapidly.

SpaceX launched a UK trial at the start of 2021 which covers a few thousand people, employing a satellite dish to receive connectivity services from hundreds of satellites.

The Sunday Telegraph’s sources explained SpaceX is now searching for ground infrastructure to connect to the backbone of UK fibre networks and high frequency spectrum. A deal with operators would be beneficial as customers increase and the network becomes congested.

In an Ofcom filing, Vodafone noted it was open to discussions with satellite operators and talks are apparently at an advanced stage.

“Vodafone is a licensee of spectrum in the 28GHz band, using this spectrum extensively for terrestrial fixed links. We understand this bank is of value for gateway links to satellites. We are open to approaches from satellite providers who may wish to lease the spectrum.”

SpaceX could face competition for spectrum from OneWeb, a rival satellite play backed by the UK government, which is working with BT to launch a trial in the country.