If you are someone who has faced network connectivity issues on your smartphone, it is because the mobile networks have a limited reach. Since fibre deployment in every single part of the world is difficult, there will always be limitations in the connectivity for consumers if they depend on terrestrial networks for services. However, with space-based mobile network services, it would completely change.
Satellite-based 4G/5G networks will be able to reach the remotest parts of the world without any issues. Back in 2020, Vodafone and AST SpaceMobile had unveiled plans for launching the first phase of space-based commercial mobile communications services in 2023. The aim of the partnership between both companies was to fill coverage gaps for enabling billions of users across the globe to get internet.
Vodafone had partnered with AST SpaceMobile because the latter was in a unique position to deliver universal mobile coverage in rural areas of Africa, Europe and more. Over 49 countries are planned to be covered with the space-based mobile network of AST SpaceMobile.
The Week of August 15, 2022, Will be a Special Date for These Companies
AST SpaceMobile and Vodafone are focused on the week of August 15, 2022. It is the expected time frame for when the first BlueWalker 3 test satellite will be launched. There’s a possibility of the date or timeframe of the launch changing because of the factors including but not limited to final integration, final testing, ground transport, timely readiness and more.
AST SpaceMobile has been planning to build a satellite constellation which aims to directly connect to cell phones around the globe. Major markets where internet and mobile connectivity hasn’t been reached yet will benefit from this.
Vodafone will help AST SpaceMobile with integration testing. AST SpaceMobile has invested around $85 million USD in the development of the satellite, and so far, over 800 ground tests have been completed by the engineers on the BlueWalker 3.