Tue. Sep 26th, 2023
AST SpaceMobile Makes First-Ever 5G Call from Satellite

AST SpaceMobile, a cellular satellite company backed by AT&T, has achieved a significant milestone by making the first-ever 5G connection between an unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space. The company used a Samsung Galaxy S22 to conduct the test, placing the call on September 8th, 2023, from a wireless dead zone in Maui, Hawaii, to a recipient in Madrid, Spain. The connection was made possible by leveraging AST SpaceMobile’s low Earth orbit test satellite, BlueWalker 3 (BW3), and AT&T’s 5G spectrum.

This achievement comes after previous tests conducted by AST SpaceMobile. In April, the company successfully routed its first space-based phone call on AT&T’s 2G network. Additionally, it sent a 4G LTE signal from space that an ordinary phone was able to receive, boasting download speeds of 10Mbps. However, AST SpaceMobile has surpassed this record in a separate test, achieving a download speed of around 14Mbps.

AST SpaceMobile’s CEO, Abel Avellan, emphasizes the significance of this technological advancement, stating that it represents a paradigm shift in access to information. The company has achieved full compatibility with phones made by major manufacturers and supports 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G technologies. While Apple and T-Mobile have also introduced satellite connectivity features with their devices, AST SpaceMobile is aiming to expand the possibilities of space-based phone calls by harnessing the power of 5G speeds.

Looking ahead, AST SpaceMobile plans to launch five commercial BlueBird satellites in the first quarter of next year, further advancing their mission of providing reliable and accessible mobile communication globally.