Vodacom Group Media release https://www.vodacom.com/news-article.php?articleID=7592
Vodafone and AST SpaceMobile unveil launch plans for space-based mobile network initially reaching 1.6 billion people
Thursday, 17 December 2020
•AST & Science LLC (“AST SpaceMobile”) secures necessary funding for first phase commercial launch of space-based mobile network.
•Project aims to transform mobile network coverage for the 49 largest countries in the equatorial regions – including Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, and Tanzania – from 2023.
•SpaceMobile will be the first space-based mobile network to connect directly to 4G and 5G smartphones without any need for specialized hardware.
TEXAS, LONDON, JOHANNESBURG – December 17, 2020 – AST SpaceMobile, in partnership with Vodafone Group, today unveiled plans to launch the first phase of its space-based commercial mobile communications service in 2023. The company has secured the necessary funding to take the venture to this next stage, which will cover the 49 largest countries in the equatorial regions.
Vodafone wants to ensure that our customers are always connected and everyone benefits from a digital society. This is why we are a lead, strategic partner of AST SpaceMobile, which is uniquely positioned to provide universal mobile coverage to rural areas in Africa, and in the future, Europe, further extending our leading network. The space-based mobile network will also enable us to provide instant communications in the event of a natural or humanitarian disaster.
AST SpaceMobile will be the first service of its kind to connect standard mobile phones at 4G and 5G speeds using AST SpaceMobile’s patented space-based network. Today, more than five billion mobile subscribers constantly move in and out of wireless coverage, and AST SpaceMobile’s solution will fill these coverage gaps to enable people to stay connected whilst on the move. This is a significant breakthrough in helping to bring affordable mobile connectivity to more than half of the world’s population that do not have internet on their phone. Traditional satellite systems require expensive specialized satellite phones or ground antenna systems, which is different to AST SpaceMobile’s patented technology, where all that is needed is the phone in your pocket.
The first tranche of AST SpaceMobile’s launch plans will involve the use of 20 satellites to offer seamless, low-latency mobile connectivity that can be accessed by approximately 1.6 billion people across a vast geographical region. The initial service will target an area North and South of the equator, including rural and remote areas of a number of markets where Vodafone will integrate the technology into the services provided by its Vodacom, Safaricom and Vodafone brands. Subject to regulatory approval in each market, these will include DRC; Ghana; Mozambique; Kenya; and Tanzania. AST SpaceMobile will also apply for regulatory approval to launch the service in India.
Read more at: https://www.vodacom.com/news-article.php?articleID=7592