Tesla Pi Phone
Image Credit: Screengrab

Billionaire Elon Musk has, for the first time, addressed the question of whether or not to make his own smartphone brand, to rival Apple and Android amid longstanding speculation that a "Tesla Pi" — or a "tELONphone" — is in the works.

Responding to a tweet, Musk stated: "I certainly hope it does not come to that (making his own phone), but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone."

He was responding to Liz Wheeler, host of The Liz Wheeler Show video podcasts, who speculated: "If Apple & Google boot Twitter from their app stores, @elonmusk should produce his own smartphone. Half the country would happily ditch the biased, snooping iPhone & Android. The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?"

Wheeler then put out a Twitter poll, asking people if they would switch to a tELonphone, which has garnered more than 61,000 votes so far, with 18 hours still left for the poll to end.

In August, Musk announced that SpaceX's Starlink, a globe-spanning network of low-earth satellites that now cover a huge part of the globe, has signed a cellular partnership with US carrier T-Mobile.

Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert announced the direct satellite-to-cell partnership from SpaceX's Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

Most cellular phones do not use satellites, as they rely on cellular towers for signal. Satellite phones, on the other hand, are not limited to the short range of cellular networks and offer global telecommunication, theoretically anywhere.

In September, Musk said that Starlink service connectivity to iPhones is in the works. The news emerged after Apple said it would partner with Globalstar Inc. for satellite-based service on the next version of its ultra-popular iPhone.