As 5G cell towers weave paths of hardware across the landscape, SpaceMobile aims to transmit signals from the sky. With its announcement of $100 million in private investor funding AST & Science is soaring, reports SpaceItBridge.com. Rakuten and Vodafone were cited as large contributors, with other companies like American Tower and Samsung also on board.
SpaceMobile, and competitors Lynk (formerly Ubiquitilink) and IoT specialist OQ Technologies all claim to have unique cellular delivery systems. Beginning with 4G service support for network subscribers, SpaceMobile has its eye on 5G.
“SpaceMobile will be particularly transformative to the growing US$1 trillion annual global mobile market because it will eliminate the coverage gaps faced by today’s five billion mobile subscribers moving in and out of connectivity every day,” said AST & Science Chairman and CEO, Abel Avellan. “It will also help the world’s most under-served communities to access the latest mobile services much sooner than predicted, helping more people to access the digital economy.”
Investors like Rakuten are counting on the satellite system’s ability to reach a worldwide audience, starting with Japan. SpaceMobile is seen as a strategic investment that would give Rakuten the ability to connect everyone in the country, particularly in emergency situations.
Vodafone’s goals are similar, but even bigger. “At Vodafone we want to ensure everyone benefits from a digital society – that no one is left behind,” said Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read. “We believe SpaceMobile is uniquely placed to provide universal mobile coverage, further enhancing our leading network across Europe and Africa – especially in rural areas and during a natural or humanitarian disaster – for customers on their existing smartphones.”
American Tower and Samsung have not spelled out their game plans, but it is easy to speculate that a satellite network would be a great asset to an otherwise earthbound cellular provider.
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