By: Nick Gambino
We’ve just learned of a monumental achievement in communications. AST SpaceMobile announced that they were able to make a call from space to a regular unaltered cellphone on Earth. In partnership with AT&T, Rakuten and Vodafone, the satellite to smartphone call marked the first of its kind, launching us into new possibilities for communication.
The call originated from Midland, Texas on a regular Samsung Galaxy S22 and arrived at Rakuten all the way over in Japan via the BlueWalker 3 satellite.
“Achieving what many once considered impossible, we have reached the most significant milestone to date in our quest to deliver global cellular broadband from space,” the CEO of AST SpaceMobile, Abel Avellan, said in a statement. “While we take a moment to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment, we remain focused on the path ahead and pivotal next steps that get us closer to our goal of transforming the way the world connects.”
The goal of AST Mobile’s project is to provide connectivity to all the remote areas of the world that have zero connection to cellular broadband. To put this in perspective, this is roughly half the planet. So saying this is a huge accomplishment is an understatement.
Not only does this contribute to providing service in far-flung areas of the world, but it also brings us closer to the goal of significantly boosting signals in areas of the U.S. where service is spotty at best.
Right now we depend on the proximity of cell towers, but when they aren’t close enough or are obstructed in some way you get weak or dropped calls. The worst is when you hit a dead zone where communication is impossible. Think of these satellites as cell towers in space that can shoot a signal out to wherever it’s needed.
While broadly available satellite coverage might be a ways off, this is certainly a huge step forward for the possibility of cell coverage from just about anywhere on Earth.