Over the past four years, satellite has become a popular alternative for operators to connect remote communities. But it also has limitations. AST SpaceMobile offers a solution to overcome these obstacles.
French telecoms group Orange on Friday (March 25th) signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with AST SpaceMobile to test its space-based broadband cellular network in one of its African markets. AST SpaceMobile’s service, which will be deployed through the BlueWalker 3 satellite, will allow people to connect directly to the network on their mobile via standard 3GPP frequencies, without going through additional equipment on the ground.
Chris Ivory, AST SpaceMobile’s Chief Commercial Officer, explains that through this directly applicable solution, the company “not only seeks to fill the gaps in cellular broadband coverage for millions of existing subscribers, but also to extend mobile service to areas that currently have little or none”.
Orange, like several telecom operators, is currently multiplying solutions to meet the growing demand for quality telecom services in Africa. Satellite is an option that is already being implemented. But it has limits insofar as the equipment on the ground on which the signal is retransmitted does not always make it possible to effectively cover the populations installed in remote areas.
Thanks to AST SpaceMobile’s space technology, Orange will be able to bring the signal wherever it is needed. The consumer will be able to directly connect to the network. The memorandum of understanding between Orange and AST SpaceMobile paves the way for discussions for a potential agreement on the use by the telecom operator of the BlueBird satellite network that the space telecom service provider is preparing.