AST SpaceMobile Hits Key Milestone in Global Race to Connect the World’s Smartphones to 5G via Satellite


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Improvements in 4G and 5G wireless technologies are spurring a global race to develop the next-generation of mobile communications services, but today’s wired infrastructure can’t keep pace with the demand. After more than three years of R&D and trials across 14 countries, AST SpaceMobile, Inc., one of the world’s most promising satellite start-ups, has hit a key milestone in its race to connect the world’s smartphones to 5G via satellite.

The large antenna of AST SpaceMobile’s newly launched test satellite successfully deployed, according to the company’s announcement made on Monday. This marks an important step in the company’s creation of a worldwide network to deliver 5G internet service.

The 693 square foot antenna of the BlueWalker 3 satellite, which was launched in September by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, was deployed. According to the business, this is the biggest antenna array ever placed in low Earth orbit.

“Everyone should be able to use cellphone broadband, regardless of where they reside or where they work. We want to eliminate the communication gaps that have a detrimental effect on billions of people’s lives worldwide, said Abel Avellan, chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile.

A constellation of 168 satellites would make up AST’s network, and the business claims that after around 110 of them are in orbit, it will have worldwide coverage. As of right now, BlueWalker 3 is AST’s second test satellite. By the end of next year, it hopes to start launching its operational BlueBird satellites.

The satellite business went public through a SPAC last year and has so far raised more than $600 million. For its service, AST has accumulated a variety of mobile telecom relationships, including those with AT&T, Vodafone, Rakuten, and others.

In a statement released on Monday, AT&T’s network president Chris Sambar expressed the company’s “excitement” on AST reaching “this important milestone.”

Sambar stated, “We believe there is a potential chance to even further extend our network coverage, especially to otherwise distant and off-grid regions, working with AST SpaceMobile.

Heavy trading caused AST SpaceMobile’s shares to swing, ultimately closing 9.5% down at $7.99 per share. As of Monday’s closing, the company’s shares are unchanged for the year.


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