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AT&T and Google Invest in Space-Based Cell Service

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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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Jan 23, 2024, 1:39 PM


Interesting that Google has a long history with T-Mobile/Sprint and has launched their Fi network piggybacking off T-Mobile/USCC. T-Mobile is launching sat-text/voice via Starlink, something that Google could actually benefit from. So it's funny seeing Google embrace AT&T, historically a company they've not done much with, and in my opinion means that we might see a new carrier offered on Fi or even a full move from T-Mo or USCC on that aspect.
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