* Nokia wins five-year global 4G and 5G contract with AST SpaceMobile
* AST SpaceMobile plans to bring cellular connectivity directly to 4G and 5G devices via low earth orbit satellites in collaboration with mobile network operators
*Nokia and AST SpaceMobile committed to finding concrete solutions to extend universal coverage and reduce the digital divide in the world
ESPOO, Finland — Nokia today announced the signing of a five-year 5G agreement with AST Space Mobile, Inc. (“AST SpaceMobile”) (NASDAQ:ASTS) – the company building the first and only space-based broadband cellular network accessible directly by standard 4G or 5G mobile devices. As part of the agreement, Nokia and AST SpaceMobile will work to achieve their shared ambition to expand universal coverage and connect underserved communities around the world. The launch of AST SpaceMobile’s Later this year, the BlueWalker 3 test satellite will launch global tests with mobile network operators on six continents.
AST SpaceMobile’s mission is to eliminate the connectivity gaps experienced by more than five billion mobile subscribers worldwide and bring cellular broadband to approximately half of the world’s population who are still unconnected. Their approach means that subscribers outside of cellular coverage could access broadband speeds without having to invest in specialized hardware and be able to switch from terrestrial to space networks for the first time. Thanks to its relationships with mobile network operators, AST SpaceMobile has entered into agreements and understandings with mobile network operators who collectively serve more than 1.8 billion cellular customers.
Nokia’s AirScale Single RAN equipment aims to enable AST SpaceMobile in the provision of mobile services to new and existing subscribers in areas currently not served by terrestrial communication networks. This includes connecting devices globally on land, at sea or in the air. Nokia will supply equipment from its comprehensive, energy-efficient AirScale portfolio, including its AirScale base stations powered by its latest generation of Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets. AST SpaceMobile will benefit from Nokia’s baseband pluggable modular cards that add capacity where it’s needed, providing flexibility and efficiency. Nokia will also provide its NetAct solution for network management and transparent day-to-day network operations as well as optimization and technical support services.
“Connectivity should be seen as an essential service like water, electricity or gas. Everyone should be able to have access to universal broadband services that will ensure that no one is left behind,” said Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks at Nokia. “Nokia has a long history of providing connectivity solutions that have had a major and positive impact on society. We have worked closely with AST SpaceMobile on this important two-year initiative that aims to provide crucial space connectivity to underserved communities around the world. We are of course proud that our technology plays an important role in supporting networks.”
AST SpaceMobile plans to launch its BlueWalker 3 satellite for testing in early to mid-September from Cape Canaveral, Florida. BlueWalker 3 is a low Earth orbit satellite and has an aperture of approximately 64 square meters (693 square feet), which is designed to communicate directly with cellular devices via standard 3GPP frequencies. At the end of the day, AST SpaceMobile aims to deploy around 100 satellites to achieve substantial global mobile coverage.
“With the integration of Nokia’s AirScale system, AST SpaceMobile and Nokia are taking an important step towards closing connectivity gaps around the world,” said Scott Wisniewskidirector of strategy at AST SpaceMobile. “Nokia supports us with dozens of engineers and development professionals, including leading architecture research experts at Bell Laboratories, the world-renowned industrial research arm of Nokia. In the coming months, we plan to launch our BlueWalker 3 test satellite into low Earth orbit, which features a 64 square meter phased array antenna designed for direct-to-cell connectivity. With this satellite, we plan to perform tests around the world with major mobile network operators, leveraging Nokia’s technology solutions in the field.”
Nokia is committed to providing equitable opportunities for all and access to education, healthcare, employment and digital community services. Nokia supports the 2025 targets set by The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development which aims to “connect the other half” within the next five years. They are involved in several ongoing projects around the world, in particular in El Salvador and Kenya. These public/private initiatives are designed to bring public services such as schools and hospitals online. They aim to dramatically improve access to the Internet and create the foundations that will enable everyone to participate in the digital economy.
At Nokia, we create technology that helps the world act together.
As a trusted partner for critical networks, we are committed to being at the forefront of innovation and technology across mobile, fixed and cloud networks. We create value with long-term intellectual property and research, led by the Nokia Bell Labs.
Adhering to the highest standards of integrity and safety, we help build the capabilities needed for a more productive, sustainable and inclusive world.
About AST SpaceMobile
AST SpaceMobile built the first and only global cellular broadband network in space to work directly with standard, unmodified mobile devices based on our extensive intellectual property and patent portfolio. Our space engineers and scientists are on a mission to close the connectivity gaps faced by today’s five billion mobile subscribers and finally bring broadband to the billions who are still unconnected. For more information, follow AST SpaceMobile on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Watch this video for an overview of the SpaceMobile mission.
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