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AST SpaceMobile to test direct-to-smartphone satellite broadband

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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given AST SpaceMobile, a five-year-old company located in Midland, Texas, permission to test a satellite that has the potential to deliver cellular broadband access for smartphone users in the US and throughout the world.


According to the business, it is developing the first and only space-based cellular broadband network that will be immediately accessible by regular mobile phones. SpaceMobile, the company’s proposed network, intends to provide 4G/5G access to everyone on the world, on land, at sea, and in the air. No matter where they are, mobile customers will be able to seamlessly roam from terrestrial networks to the space-based network.


AST SpaceMobile is launching BlueWalker 3, a test satellite meant to interact directly with mobile phones using 3GPP standard frequencies. The FCC has granted the business an experimental license for BlueWalker 3 space-to-ground testing in the United States. At least a portion of the utilized spectrum will be covered by three AT&T licenses, according to the company’s FCC filing.


AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan commented: “We appreciate the diligent support of the FCC in providing the experimental license for our upcoming satellite launch. Together with other testing around the world, this license will enable us to conduct some of our most important testing here, at home, in the United States.”


The objective of AST SpaceMobile is to eliminate the connection gaps that today’s five billion mobile customers encounter when they move in and out of service zones, and to offer cellular broadband to the remaining half of the world’s population who do not currently enjoy mobile connectivity.


Furthermore, AST also announced a new cooperative venture with Globe Telecom, the Philippines’ largest mobile operator, to leverage its developing satellite network and offer service to the operator’s rural-based consumers. Commercial agreements have already been signed with Vodafone and AT&T, as well as Memorandums of Understanding that have been implemented with Telefonica, Indosat Ooredoo, Tigo, Telstra, Orange, and others. These agreements, when combined, would potentially allow AST to serve more than 1.8 billion mobile users.

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