Smartphone on a calendar, notebook, with a pen and headphones next to it, the smartphone says ast spacemobile

The venture AST SpaceMobile, a direct competitor to Starlink, aims to provide smartphone services directly from satellites in low-Earth orbit and has received significant investment.

Some of the industry's biggest names, including Google, AT&T, and Vodafone, are leading an investment pack with a massive $ 206.5 million contribution. This move marks a milestone in AST SpaceMobile's journey and a shift in the satellite-to-smartphone service landscape. Read on to understand the transactions and their implications!

The Investment And Collaboration

Investment from Google and AT&T in AST SpaceMobile is a first, while Vodafone is a repeat investor. It was announced concurrently with AST SpaceMobile's public offering of $ 100 million worth of stock.

Check some details of the collaboration below.

  • Vodafone and AT&T are keen to procure network equipment from AST SpaceMobile, a step toward their commercial service plans.
  • Google plans to contribute by working with AST SpaceMobile on product development, testing, and implementation strategies for the SpaceMobile network on Android and Android-related devices.

The investment is a big step, but the competition in the sector is not small.

The Race For Satellite-To-Smartphone Service

AST SpaceMobile's primary competitor, Starlink, has already established deals with T-Mobile in the US and carriers worldwide. However, AST SpaceMobile's innovation and partnerships are not lagging.

AST SpaceMobile and AT&T aim to offer mobile broadband coverage in underprivileged and remote areas using the 700 MHz and 850 MHz bands.

  • In 2023, the successful completion of the first two-way voice calls using standard mobile phones and test satellites was a significant achievement for AST SpaceMobile and its partners.
  • The company completed the first two-way voice calls using standard mobile phones and test satellites and made the 5G connection for voice and data between a regular smartphone and a satellite in space, reaching a download speed of 14Mbps.

AST SpaceMobile plans to launch its first five operational satellites soon. These satellites, along with a prototype launched from a SpaceX rocket, are being manufactured in their Texas facilities.

Competition is not small, with Starlink holding a significant domain. Check the prospects of the sector in the next section.

Future Plans And Partnerships

Despite Starlink's current domination with over 5,000 satellites providing internet services, AST SpaceMobile is rising fast, primed to revolutionize how we connect on our mobile phones.

The company has already secured over 40 global agreements with mobile network operators, servicing more than 2 billion subscribers. Renowned partners include Vodafone, AT&T, Rakuten Mobile, and Bell Canada