AT&T and Google Invest in Space-Based Cell Service
Jan 23, 2024, 12:44 PM by Rich Brome
updated Jan 23, 2024, 2:09 PM
AST SpaceMobile — the company currently testing space-based cellular service for AT&T — has secured a vote of confidence in the form of $206.5 million in new financing from AT&T, Google, and Vodafone. AT&T and Google are new investors. As part of the deal, AT&T has agreed to purchase network equipment from AST to support planned commercial service, and made a $20 million revenue commitment. Google has "agreed to collaborate on product development, testing and implementation plans for SpaceMobile network connectivity on Android and related devices". AST's technology works with existing, off-the-shelf 4G and 5G phones. In that sense, it's similar to the service that SpaceX and T-Mobile are currently testing. Both systems rely on new satellites being launched into earth orbit with massive antennas that can mimic land-based cellular base stations. These services are intended only to provide coverage in "dead zones" not covered by land-based networks.
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