On September 8th 2023, a historic moment took place which will define how we communicate in future years. For the first time in history, AST SpaceMobile established a 5G connection for voice and data between an everyday, unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space.
A call was made between a wireless dead-zone in Maui, Hawaii, USA, and a Vodafone engineer in Madrid, Spain. The engineering feat was made possible thanks to AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite. In the first quarter of 2024, the first five of AST SpaceMobile’s commercial satellites will launch 5G technology at everyone’s disposal.
One might wonder why we need 5G, as in most places on Earth, we don’t have much difficulty finding a cellphone signal. But it is exactly because of those aforementioned wireless dead zones that the telecom industry is putting all their energy into the development of 5G aka fifth generation networking.
Once again, we have achieved a significant technological advancement that represents a paradigm shift in access to information. Since the launch of BlueWalker 3, we have achieved full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers and support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G.Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile
“Making the first successful 5G cellular broadband connections from space directly to mobile phones is yet another significant advancement in telecommunications AST SpaceMobile has pioneered. We are more confident than ever that space-based cellular broadband can help transform internet connectivity across the globe by filling in gaps and connecting the unconnected”, said Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile.
For the test, AST SpaceMobile worked closely together with Vodafone, AT&T and Nokia. From their home base in Midland, Texas, USA, the company is building what they call “the first and only global cellular broadband network in space to operate directly with standard, unmodified mobile devices”. In total, they have more than 2.600 patent and patent-pending claims and they work with 40 international mobile network operators, hoping to roll out 5G cellular broadband connections all over the globe with their help.
“These moments are extraordinary milestones in telecommunications history. These first-of-a-kind innovations would not be possible without ecosystem-wide collaboration. We’re all working together to achieve the shared vision of space-based connectivity for consumers, businesses and first responders all around the globe”, Chris Sambar, Head of AT&T Network, stated.