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AST SpaceMobile Partners With Smart Communications in the Philippines

By Rachel Jewett | July 6, 2021

Alfredo Panlilio, Smart Communications president and CEO and Abel Avellan, chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile, sign the MoU. Photo: AST SpaceMobile via Business Wire

AST SpaceMobile, Inc. has signed an MoU with Smart Communications to bring the space-based cellular broadband network the company is developing to customers in the Philippines. 

AST SpaceMobile is developing a broadband network in partnership with Vodafone Group with connectivity from satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) that can be accessed by standard mobile phones. Under the agreement with Smart Communications, a mobile services provider in the Philippines, AST SpaceMobile plans to offer its network to approximately 70 million Smart subscribers.

The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, and its geography makes it challenging to connect sites in the country with terrestrial connectivity. Abel Avellan, chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile commented that this partnership can bring cellular broadband some in the Philippines that have never been connected before. 

“This new satellite communications technology aims to help us accomplish our mission of connecting the entire nation, where nobody gets left behind,” Alfredo Panlilio, Smart Communications president and CEO, said in the release.  

AST SpaceMobile is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker ASTS following a special purpose acquisition (SPAC) merger that was completed in April. AST SpaceMobile was the first of the group of space SPACs to become publicly traded. The company is working to launch its test BlueWalker 3 satellite this year, and then launch 20 Phase 1 satellites in 2022.