AST SpaceMobile has announced a non-binding memorandum of understanding with telecommunications operator Orange S.A.
The joint effort will examine the opportunity for Orange to test the SpaceMobile service in one African country, following AST SpaceMobile’s planned launch of BlueWalker 3, its test satellite with an aperture of 693 square feet that’s designed to communicate directly with cell phones via 3GPP standard frequencies. It also paves the way for the two companies to discuss a potential agreement to serve Orange subscribers through AST SpaceMobile’s planned network of BlueBird satellites.
Speaking about the deal, Chris Ivory, Chief Commercial Officer of AST SpaceMobile, said: “AST SpaceMobile seeks not only to fill cellular broadband coverage gaps for millions of existing subscribers, but also to extend mobile service to areas which currently have little to none at all.”
Jean-Luc Vuillemin, Executive Vice President of Orange International Networks, added: “AST SpaceMobile’s satellite constellation could revolutionize how mobile subscribers connect. We look forward to working with AST SpaceMobile to explore expanding Orange’s service offerings to geographic regions where it is difficult to build out cellular infrastructure.”
AST SpaceMobile’s mission is to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by today’s 5bn mobile subscribers moving in and out of coverage zones, and bring cellular broadband to approximately half of the world’s population who remain unconnected. Other partners in this effort include leading global wireless infrastructure companies such as Rakuten Mobile, Vodafone and American Tower.