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AST SpaceMobile Reveals Ongoing 5G Partnership With Nokia 

By Rachel Jewett | July 28, 2022

    Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets. Photo: Nokia

    AST SpaceMobile has signed a five-year 5G deal with Nokia to jointly work to expand universal coverage with AST SpaceMobile connectivity and Nokia hardware. The companies have been collaborating for about two years, AST SpaceMobile announced Thursday.

    Nokia plans to use its AirScale Single RAN equipment to expand connectivity with AST SpaceMobile. This includes connecting devices globally on land, at sea, or in flight, the companies said. Nokia will provide equipment including its AirScale base stations powered by its latest generation of Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets. AST SpaceMobile said it will benefit from Nokia’s modular baseband plug-in cards which add capacity where it is needed. Nokia will also provide its NetAct solution for network management.

    AST SpaceMobile Chief Strategy Officer Scott Wisniewski said Nokia has supported AST SpaceMobile with dozens of engineers including leading architecture research experts at Nokia Bell Labs. 

    “Everyone should be able to have access to universal broadband services that will ensure that no one is left behind,” said Tommi Uitto, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “We have worked closely with AST SpaceMobile on this important initiative for two years which seeks to provide crucial connectivity from space to underserved communities around the world. We are of course proud our technology is playing an important role in underpinning the networks.”

    This announcement comes as AST SpaceMobile is preparing to launch the BlueWalker 3 satellite which will test its space-direct-to-cell technology. The company has partnerships with a number of mobile network operators, which will use its capacity to expand the reach of their networks. After BlueWalker 3 is launched, AST SpaceMobile plans to conduct testing with Nokia and other mobile network operators.