AT&T helps complete the first-ever space-based voice call made with a regular smartphone

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AT&T helps complete the first-ever space-based voice call made with a regular smartphone
File this under one of the biggest achievements in telecommunication history since Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call back in 1876. AST SpaceMobile, a company that is building the first space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by regular mobile phones, announced this week it has successfully completed the first-ever two-way voice call directly to unmodified smartphones using its own satellite technology.

The company used its own technology and the BlueWalker 3 satellite to complete a direct voice connection from space to an everyday cellular device. To be more precise, AST SpaceMobile’s engineers made the first voice call from the Midland, Texas area to Rakuten in Japan over AT&T spectrum using a Samsung Galaxy S22 unmodified smartphone.

"Achieving what many once considered impossible, we have reached the most significant milestone to date in our quest to deliver global cellular broadband from space. While we take a moment to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment, we remain focused on the path ahead and pivotal next steps that get us closer to our goal of transforming the way the world connects," said Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWaker 3 satellite, the largest commercial communications array deployed in low Earth orbit. Apart from the fact that this is a major achievement in itself, it’s also the first step toward providing space-based 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and 5G cellular broadband globally.

AT&T’s heritage began with the birth of the telephone 147 years ago and has continued with many other firsts including: trans-continental call, overseas call, call from the moon, and partnering to deliver the only network built with and for America’s first responders. We connect people to greater possibility, and this important milestone with AST SpaceMobile is a big step and we can’t wait to see what’s next in our space-based journey,” said Chris Sambar, Head of AT&T Network.

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Also, thanks to additional testing and measurements on the smartphone and uplink and download signal strength, AST SpaceMobile engineers have been able to confirm the ability to support cellular broadband speeds and 4G LTE / 5G waveforms.

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