Smart to work with AST SpaceMobile to bolster mobile broadband coverage

7 Jul 2021

Austin, Texas-based AST SpaceMobile, which describes itself as the first space-based cellular broadband network for mobile phones, is teaming up with PLDT Inc. mobile division Smart Communications to deliver improved broadband connectivity to the cellco’s roughly 70 million-strong subscriber base. The two parties inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 6 July 2021 under which the vendor will supply cellular broadband connectivity to the Philippines’ mainland, islands, and surrounding waters.

‘Our collaboration with Smart to look into opportunities to offer the SpaceMobile service to their customers in rural communities would allow the company to offer affordable broadband cellular access to the unconnected for the first time ever,’ AST SpaceMobile chairman and CEO Abel Avellan said in a statement.

Nasdaq listed AST SpaceMobile – whose mission statement is to fill ‘coverage gaps for over five billion people moving around the planet’ – is building what it claims is the first ‘space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones’.