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AST Successfully Tests 4G Data From Space

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Jun 21, 2023, 9:14 AM   by Rich Brome

AST SpaceMobile has conducted a successful test of 4G LTE data service from its test satellite in orbit to a standard, unmodified smartphone using an existing AT&T cellular frequency band. The test "achieved repeated successful download speeds above 10 Mbps", proving the system is capable of more than just basic voice and messaging service. The test took place in Hawaii. The company has previously conducted successful tests of voice calls. The company will soon test 5G service. AT&T plans to use the AST system (once operational) to provide nationwide coverage where its land-based network doesn't reach. T-Mobile is working on a similar system with SpaceX Starlink. Other companies — such as Apple, Qualcomm, and Bullitt — are launching solutions that offer a similar service but require special technology added to the phone. Solutions that work with any smartphone require massive antennas in space. AST's test satellite is 693 square feet. Another major point of differentiation is whether each service provides just messaging, or messaging and voice, or also data.


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