AT&T finalizes plans to launch satellite-to-smartphone service

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Today, AT&T announced that it entered into a deal with AST SpaceMobile to launch a satellite-to-smartphone service soon. AT&T has been working closely with the satellite network company since 2018. Notably, AST SpaceMobile is a potential rival to SpaceX’s satellite network Starlink.

AT&T comes together with AST SpaceMobile to launch a satellite-to-smartphone service

In today’s announcement, AT&T adds that it has been working together with AST SpaceMobile “under a Memorandum of Understanding.” Last year, as a test, AST SpaceMobile launched a prototype satellite. Interestingly, it managed to deliver a download bandwidth of up to 14Mbps. Besides, it showcased voice calls, texts, and video calls using 4G LTE and 5G connectivity in the same year. Although AST hasn’t launched a production satellite to date, AT&T seems pretty confident that AST will be able to provide fast and reliable internet to its users.

AT&T also added that AST is planning to “deliver its first commercial satellites to Cape Canaveral for launch into low Earth Orbit.” The smartphone carriers giant says that the first five satellites will allow the beginning of satellite-to-smartphone service as demonstrated previously. Let’s not forget that, in January AT&T invested $110 million in AST SpaceMobile. Worth noting that the satellite network company also received funding from tech giant Google.

The commercial agreement which extends until 2030 has a goal to offer a “space-based broadband network to everyday cell phones.” In other words, users can receive cellular connections without worrying about a few signal towers in far-flung areas. With AT&T’s satellite-to-smartphone service in place, users just need to ensure their phone has a clear view of the sky to receive cellular signals.

Major telecom companies have entered into similar deals

Previously, many other company that has secured a deal to bring satellite-to-smartphone service to life soon. For similar purposes, major telecom companies like T-Mobile and Verizon have already entered an agreement with SpaceX and Amazon, respectively.

Moreover, Apple has already integrated satellite connectivity into iPhones for a long time now. Time will tell when exactly AT&T will launch satellite-to-smartphone service, but it will be a thing to watch out for down the line.

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