The telecom service providers (TSPs) have been limited to providing network services through terrestrial networks. For this, the telcos need to deploy fibre, install towers, and ensure that power is supplied on a constant basis to keep the networks up and running. However, the next leap here would be getting the same kind of network service, but from space. Terrestrial networks have a lot of limitations which will fade away with the arrival of mobile network services from space. Nokia, a renowned Finnish telecom gear vendor, has won a five-year contract/deal from AST SpaceMobile to help with providing 4G and 5G network services from space. AST SpaceMobile will leverage LEO (low earth orbit) satellites to offer this service.
Nokia Will Provide AirScale Portfolio Products to AST SpaceMobile
When ready, consumers will be able to get 4G and 5G network services directly from space on their regular smartphones. There are billions of people across the world who aren't able to get mobile network services in a seamless manner, or the service is completely absent. This can be solved through the presence of satellite mobile networks. AST SpaceMobile is partnering with several telcos to offer this service to their consumers.
Nokia will provide AST SpaceMobile with its AirScale Single RAN equipment to enable connectivity between satellites and regular smartphones. This means that whether the customers are on flights, on yachts in the sea, or in very difficult terrain, they will still be able to connect with the satellite network. Nokia will offer its AirScale portfolio products for this contract. The ReefShark SoC powers the latest Nokia AirScale products.
AST SpaceMobile is all set to launch its test BlueWalker 3 satellite in early or mid-September 2022 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite has been designed to communicate with cellular devices via 3GPP standard frequencies. To provide global mobile coverage, the company plans to deploy approximately 100 satellites in the long term.