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Orange Agrees to Test AST SpaceMobile’s Network

By | March 28, 2022

Clean room in Midland, Texas, where final testing on BlueWalker 3 satellite is being conducted. Photo: AST SpaceMobile

One of the world’s leading telcos Orange is teaming up with AST SpaceMobile to test its space-based cellular broadband network. The two companies announced the non-binding MoU on March 25.

Orange will test AST SpaceMobile’s service in one African country, following AST SpaceMobile’s planned launch of its BlueWalker 3 test satellite that is designed to communicate directly with cell phones via 3GPP standard frequencies. The companies said this announcement paves the way for discussions on a potential agreement to serve Orange subscribers through AST SpaceMobile’s planned network of BlueBird satellites. Orange has more than 220 million mobile customers across the globe.

“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,” Jean-Luc Vuillemin, Executive Vice President of Orange International Networks, said in a statement. Vuillemin recently spoke with Via Satellite about Orange’s partnerships with satellite providers.

AST SpaceMobile is working to develop a cellular broadband network in space in which satellites communicate directly with mobile phones. The company has agreements with other telcos including Vodafone and Rakuten.