AST SpaceMobile, the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TIM, one of Brazil's leading mobile network operators, and in another development also signed an MoU with Zain KSA, a leading telecom operator and a digital service provider in Saudi Arabia. The signing with Zain took place at the international LEAP 2023 Tech Conference in Riyadh.
AST SpaceMobile's MoU with TIM
AST SpaceMobile signed the agreement with TIM to increase the scope of cellular connectivity and bring space-based coverage to Brazil.
"Space-based cellular broadband is a part of our mission to eliminate connectivity gaps and bring broadband to the billions who remain unconnected," said Chris Ivory, Chief Commercial Officer of AST SpaceMobile. "We're excited to be working with TIM towards connecting the unconnected in Brazil's vast and diverse territory."
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will aid in testing AST SpaceMobile's space technology by TIM for delivering 4G data and voice services in Brazil. TIM will begin its technical tests and an initial assessment of AST SpaceMobile's proposed solution in Brazil's North and Northeastern regions, targeting the first half of 2023, pending various considerations, such as acquiring regulatory approval.
Marco Di Costanzo, Director of Network Development at TIM Brazil, said: "TIM, the only operator to serve all municipalities in Brazil with mobile coverage, reinforces its commitment to expand its coverage area and improve the quality of communication so that customers can enjoy data and voice services anywhere in the country. The MoU with AST SpaceMobile complements important ongoing initiatives to promote more digital inclusion, as it may help position TIM to take 4G to isolated areas, districts, villages, roads, resorts and tourist spots that are currently not served by other operators."
AST SpaceMobile's MoU with Zain KSA
AST SpaceMobile announced that it had signed a Memorandum of association with a branch of Zain to expand satellite services to mobile phones. The Saudi Arabian branch of Zain has operations in seven nations in the Middle East and North Africa. It is made clear by AST SpaceMobile that it is a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) that has been signed.
Chris Ivory, Chief Commercial Officer of AST SpaceMobile, said: "We are thrilled to cooperate with Zain in Saudia Arabia. We hope this collaboration will further access to reliable, space-based cellular broadband for current and future mobile users in the country."
Nasdaq-listed US company said last year that its initial trials would concentrate on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.
Zain Saudi Arabia's CTO, Abdulrahman Al-Mufadda, said, "We are committed to expanding our digital services and communications to deliver an inclusive ecosystem that covers the whole kingdom with the highest service quality and reliability, thereby enhancing our role in achieving a more connected and sustainable world."
"We are confident that our collaboration with AST SpaceMobile could help to potentially provide space-based cellular broadband connectivity in the kingdom, particularly in remote areas. In doing that, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that every citizen and resident in this precious land is connected wherever they may be."
Collaboration on new telecom solutions and satellite-based services
The Memorandum of Understanding, according to AST SpaceMobile, would allow the firms to collaborate on new telecom solutions and satellite-based digital services in Saudi Arabia to enhance access to mobile services in remote areas, including on land, at sea, and in the air.