AST SpaceMobile achieves space-based 5G on a smartphone
AST SpaceMobile has made the first-ever 5G connection for voice and data between an everyday, unmodified smartphone and a satellite in space.
Company engineers demonstrated space-based 5G connectivity by placing a call from Maui, Hawaii, USA to a Vodafone engineer in Madrid, Spain using AT&T and AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite.
That is the largest ever commercial communications array deployed in low earth orbit.
“Once again, we have achieved a significant technological advancement that represents a paradigm shift in access to information,” said Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile.
“Since the launch of BlueWalker 3, we have achieved full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers and support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G.”
"Making the first successful 5G cellular broadband connections from space directly to mobile phones is yet another significant advancement in telecommunications AST SpaceMobile has pioneered.
“We are more confident than ever that space-based cellular broadband can help transform internet connectivity across the globe by filling in gaps and connecting the unconnected.”
The 5G call was placed on September 8, 2023, from an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone located near Hana, HI, in a wireless dead zone.
4G connectivity testing was completed with Vodafone, AT&T and Nokia.
In a separate test, the company broke its previous space-based cellular broadband data session record by achieving a download rate of approximately 14Mbps.