Considerable progress was made by Big Telecom, which made the first “space-based” satellite call using a regular cellphone. The innovation has the potential to improve coverage in dead zones and in underdeveloped nations. Providers of satellite communications are making it possible for carriers to offer cellular broadband at varying speeds in any location on Earth.
Satellite communications startup AST SpaceMobile, in partnership with AT&T, Vodafone, and Rakuten, made history by making the first satellite call from a regular smartphone. On Tuesday, an employee in Midland, Texas used a stock Samsung Galaxy S22 to make a call to Tokyo, Japan. AT&T’s spectrum was used in the experiment to reflect a signal from SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 (BW3) satellite.
According to SpaceMobile, their BW3 comsat in low Earth orbit is capable of delivering 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G connectivity. When the network is finished, the innovation may completely alter cellular communications.
“Achieving what many once considered impossible, we have reached the most significant milestone to date in our quest to deliver global cellular broadband from space,” stated Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile. Inspiring words: “I am immensely proud of our team and our incredible partners, whose unwavering dedication and tireless efforts have brought us to this pivotal moment.”
SpaceMobile asserts it is “building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network.” The grid has the potential to extend coverage to dead zones and underdeveloped countries, eradicating the “can you hear me now” effect. The rural areas may also gain.
AT&T intends to expand its satellite project
AT&T, a major telecom provider, has already committed to offering worldwide 2G-5G internet service to its consumers. However, estimating the price of satellite/cellular service is premature at this time. SpaceMobile has not explicitly ruled out becoming a standalone provider, and has stated that it will charge other companies for access to its satellites.
“While we take a moment to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment, we remain focused on the path ahead and pivotal next steps that get us closer to our goal of transforming the way the world connects,” Avellan added, leaving the company’s future open to speculation.
According to the company’s website, AST wants to partner with cellular operators to offer clients pay-as-you-go choices for continuous satellite signals in locations with low coverage.
SpaceMobile’s primary cellular partner thus far is AT&T, with Vodafone and Rakuten providing technical assistance. However, a number of other networks are beginning to offer satellite service. Verizon has stated that it will offer a service somewhat similar to Amazon’s Project Kuiper in the year 2021. In the meantime, T-Mobile and SpaceX have joined together to use the latter’s Starlink network.
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