Wed. Feb 28th, 2024
Google, AT&T, and Vodafone Invest $206.5 Million in AST SpaceMobile

Tech giants Google, AT&T, and Vodafone have joined forces to invest a total of $206.5 million in AST SpaceMobile, a company that plans to offer smartphone service from low-Earth-orbit satellites. This marks Google and AT&T’s first investment in AST SpaceMobile, while Vodafone had already contributed to the satellite company.

AST SpaceMobile announced this significant funding in a recent press release, also revealing a $100 million public offering of its stocks. The company further disclosed that Vodafone and AT&T have already placed purchase orders for network equipment to support the planned commercial service, demonstrating their commitment to the project. Additionally, Google has agreed to collaborate with AST SpaceMobile on product development, testing, and implementation plans for SpaceMobile network connectivity on Android and related devices.

This strategic investment by some of the biggest players in the tech and telecommunications industry highlights the growing interest in satellite-to-smartphone technology. AST SpaceMobile’s innovative approach focuses on providing connectivity in hard-to-reach areas, complementing existing cellular networks. By leveraging satellite coverage in discrete portions of licensed areas, AST SpaceMobile doesn’t require vast terrestrial mobile spectrum. Instead, it aims to work in harmony with AT&T’s extensive terrestrial network coverage.

AST SpaceMobile has made impressive strides in its satellite technology. In April 2023, they successfully completed the first two-way voice calls using their test satellite and standard mobile phones. Subsequently, in September 2023, they achieved the first-ever 5G connection for voice and data between an unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space, reaching a download rate of 14Mbps.

Looking ahead, AST SpaceMobile plans to launch its first five operational satellites for commercial operations by March 31, 2024. These satellites will employ phased-array antennas to electronically form, steer, and shape wireless communication beams into cells of coverage, extending connectivity to billions of subscribers worldwide. With over 40 agreements and understandings with mobile network operators globally, AST SpaceMobile is well-positioned to revolutionize connectivity in remote areas.

While AST SpaceMobile is still catching up to SpaceX’s Starlink in terms of cellular-enabled satellites, this new investment brings them one step closer to realizing their vision of affordable and accessible smartphone service from space. The collaboration between these industry leaders sets the stage for an exciting future in satellite communications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is AST SpaceMobile?
AST SpaceMobile is a company that plans to offer smartphone service from low-Earth-orbit satellites. It aims to provide connectivity in hard-to-reach areas by leveraging satellite coverage and complementing existing cellular networks.

2. Which tech giants have invested in AST SpaceMobile?
Google, AT&T, and Vodafone have joined forces to invest a total of $206.5 million in AST SpaceMobile.

3. Is this the first investment by Google and AT&T in AST SpaceMobile?
Yes, this marks Google and AT&T’s first investment in AST SpaceMobile, while Vodafone had already contributed to the satellite company.

4. What is the significance of this investment?
This strategic investment highlights the growing interest in satellite-to-smartphone technology. It signifies the commitment of major players in the tech and telecommunications industry to support AST SpaceMobile’s vision.

5. What are the plans of AST SpaceMobile?
AST SpaceMobile plans to launch its first five operational satellites for commercial operations by March 31, 2024. These satellites will provide wireless connectivity to billions of subscribers worldwide.

6. What milestones has AST SpaceMobile achieved in its satellite technology?
In April 2023, AST SpaceMobile successfully completed the first two-way voice calls using their test satellite and standard mobile phones. In September 2023, they achieved the first-ever 5G connection for voice and data between an unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space.

Key Terms:
– Low-Earth-orbit satellites: Satellites that orbit close to the Earth’s surface, typically at altitudes of 1,200-2,000 kilometers (750-1,200 miles).
– Public offering: The sale of securities to the general public.
– Phased-array antennas: Antennas that use multiple small antennas to electronically form, steer, and shape wireless communication beams.

Related Links:
Google
AT&T
Vodafone
AST SpaceMobile