An unmodified smartphone and an orbiting satellite connected via 5G for the “first time ever,” according to AST SpaceMobile, an AT&T-supported cellular satellite company. This achievement is considered “first-ever.”
Utilizing a Galaxy S22, AST SpaceMobile executed the test. Specifically, they initiated a call on September 8, 2023, connecting Maui, Hawaii to Madrid, Spain. The company successfully delivered the cell signal by employing its BlueWalker 3 (BW3) satellite and AT&T’s 5G spectrum. Subsequently, AT&T, Vodafone, and Nokia validated the call. Preceding this milestone, several evaluations took place. SpaceMobile achieved its first space-based communication in April using AT&T’s 2G network. Subsequently, the company broadcast a 4G LTE signal, which a standard phone received, boasting 10Mbps download speeds. In a different test, the company surpassed this, claiming a 14Mbps download speed.
“Once again, we have achieved a significant technological advancement that represents a paradigm shift in access to information. Since the launch of BW3, we have achieved full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers and support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G.”Abel Avellan, the CEO of AST SpaceMobile.
While Apple introduces satellite-based texting via iPhone 14 and T-Mobile concurrently collaborates with SpaceX on satellite connectivity, AST SpaceMobile distinctly aims to push the boundaries of space-based calls using 5G. Contrasting T-Mobile’s SpaceX partnership, AST SpaceMobile unfolds its own bold agenda. Specifically, the company plans to launch five BlueBird commercial satellites in the first quarter of the next year.
Source: The Verge