What you need to know
- Samsung's Galaxy S22 makes its first 5G satellite call from an unmodified phone with the help of AT&T.
- The connection was established by AST SpaceMobile through its BlueWalker 3 Satellite.
- The company also launched a broadband connection with a 14Mbps data rate in space.
AST SpaceMobile is a telecommunication company building a space-based broadband network for mobile phones. As part of a significant milestone, the company has announced that it has successfully managed to establish the first-ever 5G connection for voice and data between a conventional smartphone and a satellite in space.
The conventional smartphone is Samsung's Galaxy S22 paired with AT&T spectrum alongside AST SpaceMobile's BlueWalker 3 (BW3), which is the company test satellite placed in low Earth orbit.
The 5G call was established on September 8, 2023, through an "unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone located near Hana, HI, in a wireless dead zone," the company notes in a press release. From Hana, the call was placed to a Vodafone engineer in Madrid. The 5G connectivity was also confirmed by the company's partners Vodafone, AT&T, and Nokia.
In April, the company successfully completed the first-ever two-way voice calls with the help of BW3 satellite. The company utilized a Samsung Galaxy S22 (unmodified) for the call, and the call was made from the Texas area to Japan backed by AT&T spectrum.
"Once again, we have achieved a significant technological advancement that represents a paradigm shift in access to information," said Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile. "Since the launch of BlueWalker 3, we have achieved full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers and support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G."
"We are more confident than ever that space-based cellular broadband can help transform internet connectivity across the globe by filling in gaps and connecting the unconnected."
With the help of AST SpaceMobile's BW3 satellite, the company has established space-based cellular broadband data sessions with a download rate of 14Mbps. While not particularly speedy, it is still a big achievement, breaking the company's previous record of 10Mbps, which happened in June this year.
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Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.