In recent days AST SpaceMobile, which describes itself as the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has announced collaborations with operators in Brazil and Saudi Arabia.
AST SpaceMobile’s solution is being designed to get mobile devices online where cell tower coverage does not exist and without modifications to users’ cellular devices such as software, hardware, or expensive add-ons like satellite dishes.
In Brazil the company last week announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with leading mobile network operator TIM, with the aim of increasing the scope of cellular connectivity and bringing space-based coverage to Brazil.
The MoU would also support testing of AST SpaceMobile’s space-based technologies by TIM for providing 4G data and voice services in Brazil. TIM’s first technical tests and initial evaluation of AST SpaceMobile’s planned solution are expected to take place in Brazil’s North and North-eastern regions, aiming for the first half of 2023, subject to various factors, including obtaining regulatory approval.
It's a similar story in Saudi Arabia where a recent MoU with operator Zain KSA would enable AST SpaceMobile and Zain KSA to collaborate towards new telecom solutions and satellite-based digital services in Saudi Arabia and aim to increase access to mobile services in remote locations, including on land, at sea and in flight.