On September 19, 2023, AST SpaceMobile made a significant advancement in telecommunications by establishing a 5G connection between a regular smartphone and a satellite in space. This breakthrough was the result of a joint effort between AST SpaceMobile, Vodafone, AT&T, and Nokia, utilizing the BlueWalker 3 test satellite.
The successful test involved placing a call from Maui, Hawaii, USA, to a Vodafone engineer in Madrid, Spain. By utilizing AT&T’s spectrum and AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3, the experiment demonstrated the practicality of space-based 5G connectivity. Notably, the data rate achieved during the test reached an impressive 14 Mbps.
This accomplishment builds upon AST SpaceMobile’s previous 4G testing with AT&T and Vodafone. The company’s goal is to create the world’s first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly from standard mobile phones. They plan to launch the initial five commercial satellites in the first quarter of 2024.
This achievement opens up exciting possibilities for global connectivity, especially in remote areas where traditional infrastructure is lacking. Space-based 5G networks have the potential to bring high-speed internet and communication capabilities to regions that were previously underserved.
By successfully establishing a 5G connection between a smartphone and a satellite, AST SpaceMobile has demonstrated the feasibility of their vision. The future of telecommunications is evolving, and this milestone marks a significant step towards a more connected world, both on Earth and beyond.