AST SpaceMobile, which is building the first and only satellite network to bring broadband connectivity to ordinary smartphones, has signed a five-year deal with Nokia. The companies will join forces to provide connectivity to users in remote regions around the world. The first test satellite, BlueWalker 3, is to be launched later this year in cooperation with several mobile network operators.
According to the representative of AST SpaceMobile, the integration of the Nokia AirScale system will take an important step towards eliminating communication “dead zones” around the world for more than 5 billion subscribers and providing broadband Internet access to those who do not have it yet . In particular, this means that many smartphone users can get a fast connection without purchasing additional devices. The company has already signed cooperation agreements with mobile operators, which together have more than 1.8 billion subscribers.
Nokia AirScale Single RAN equipment will enable AST SpaceMobile to provide mobile services to new and existing users in regions not served by terrestrial networks. We’re talking about users on land, at sea and in flight. Nokia will provide equipment supplies, including AirScale base stations based on the latest ReefShark chipsets, as well as other technology solutions and technical support.
In modern times, communication should be seen as one of the vital elements of daily activities – like water, electricity or gas, everyone should have access to broadband services, said a Nokia spokesman. The company said it has been working with AST SpaceMobile on this initiative for two years.
AST SpaceMobile plans to launch a BlueWalker 3 low-earth satellite in early or mid-September. The equipment is designed to communicate directly with devices operating on 3GPP-approved frequencies. In the future, the company wants to put around 100 satellites into operation to ensure broad global coverage. According to AST SpaceMobile, Nokia will not only integrate its AirScale system, but will support the project with dozens of engineers and other industry experts.