AST SpaceMobile Signs MoU With Globe Telecom in the Philippines
AST SpaceMobile has signed an MoU with Globe Telecom, a mobile network operator in the Philippines. The Thursday announcement did not include specific details, but AST SpaceMobile “would aim to provide Globe with expanded coverage” once its network is launched. As of 2021, Globe had 86.8 million mobile subscribers.
AST SpaceMobile is working to build a network of satellites designed to connect directly with unmodified cell phones. The company is preparing to launch its test satellite BlueWalker 3 this summer. A number of mobile network operators including Vodafone, Rakuten, and Orange are partnering with AST SpaceMobile to test its network and distribute services to their subscribers once the service is operational.
“This collaboration is another step in Globe’s continuing initiatives to provide digital connectivity to remote rural communities as part of its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is our mission to enable inclusive economic growth and provide quality education and e-health even in remote and still unconnected rural communities,” said Gerhard Tan, Globe’s Network Strategy and Technology Enablement director.
AST SpaceMobile CCO Chris Ivory commented that the geography of the Philippines with its thousands of islands presents a challenge for connectivity. The company previously signed an agreement with another Philippine company, Smart Communications.
In a recent interview with Via Satellite, AST SpaceMobile Chief Strategy Officer Scott Wisniewski spoke about how closely the company has worked with MNOs to develop its service.
“The mobile network operators are core to our business. They provide access to the spectrum, their customers, and the $1 trillion wireless services market. … They support technology, regulatory, and commercial topics,” he said. “This is important because not only are they potential future customers, but we are trying to mirror cellular architecture because we want to connect to the 5 billion mobile phones with no hardware software modifications.”