FCC Grants AST SpaceMobile Experimental License
The FCC granted AST SpaceMobile an experimental license for U.S.-based testing of its satellite direct to cell connectivity with the BlueWalker 3 satellite. AST SpaceMobile announced the approval on May 2.
BlueWalker 3 is a test satellite designed to communicate directly with unmodified cell phones to test AST SpaceMobile’s technology and service model. The satellite is set to launch this summer.
The license covers BlueWalker 3 space-to-ground testing in the United States using 3GPP low-band cellular frequencies and Q – and V-band frequencies, subject to certain restrictions. The authorization supports testing in Texas and Hawaii, and AST SpaceMobile will also perform testing in other locations around the world.
“We appreciate the diligent support of the FCC in providing the experimental license for our upcoming satellite launch,” said AST SpaceMobile Founder, Chairman and CEO Abel Avellan. “Together with other testing around the world, this license will enable us to conduct some of our most important testing here, at home, in the United States.”
AST SpaceMobile continues to pursue additional authorizations with the FCC for full commercial service with its planned constellation of BlueBird satellites.
The company’s Chief Strategy Officer Scott Wisniewski recently spoke to Via Satellite about AST SpaceMobile’s regulatory position.
“Satellite communication and telecom in general are regulated industries. We need market access in every country we plan to operate in,” Wisniewski said. “As for the FCC, the U.S. is a very important market for us and we have regular, constructive meetings with them and related constituencies. We have received many letters of support, including from members of Congress. … We will also need market access for full commercial service, which is typical, and we continue to make our case with them. We think it’s a compelling case.”