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Texas-based AST SpaceMobile is building the world's first space-based cellular network, and it just got one step closer to realization.
The company today announced that it had successfully completed a two-way voice call via satellite, dialing from Midland, Texas area all the way to Rakuten, Japan over the AT&T spectrum. The most impressive part? It was all done on a regular smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S22 to be exact.
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AST SpaceMobile achieved this by dialing into its BlueWalker 3 (BW3) satellite, a low-orbit communications system that in the future will serve 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, and even 5G broadband to users all over the world, not just in the United States. The company also enlisted the help of engineers from Vodafone, Rakuten, and AT&T for preparation and testing on BW3.
By integrating AST SpaceMobile's patented system and architecture with unmodified smartphones, users will be able to make phone calls, exchange text messages, and more, without worry about being in places of poor cellular service -- a common issue for those living in rural and coastal areas.
"Dead zones" are even more prevalent in developing countries that are not as equipped with local cell towers for connectivity. "Achieving what many once considered impossible, we have reached the most significant milestone to date in our quest to deliver global cellular broadband from space," said Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of AST SpaceMobile, in a press release.
We'll have to wait to see what's next for the space-based cellular company, but the success of this test is a step in the right direction for a more reliable communication experience for all.