AST SpaceMobile

FAQs

Below are answers to common questions about the first and only space-based network that will be compatible with everyone's mobile phones, with no need for any modifications or special hardware. 

We are not aware of any other company that can deliver broadband from space to the mobile phones everyone already has. Other LEO satellites – current and planned – require costly and often network-specific satellite phones, terminals or antennas. With SpaceMobile, we anticipate that wireless subscribers will be able to connect to SpaceMobile with their current mobile phone or IoT device.

With over 750 patent claims, the technology is highly proprietary, and exactly how it works cannot be disclosed. We can say that our engineers have designed an entirely new form factor and deployment method that significantly reduce the time and costs associated with manufacturing, launching and operating satellites.

Leveraging proven technologies, ultra-powerful SpaceMobile satellites will provide 2G/3G/4G LTE/5G and NBIot connectivity to standard mobile phones and IoT devices.

Our team also has worked – and continues to work – closely with mobile network operators and regulators to ensure compatibility with today’s wireless networks.

Today, more than 5 billion mobile subscribers are constantly moving in and out of wireless coverage. AST’s solution will fill these coverage gaps so everyone will stay seamlessly connected as they move about their everyday lives, no matter where they are – even when out of range of cell towers.

To bridge these gaps economically and quickly, AST designed and patented a modular LEO satellite system that will be significantly less costly to build and launch than legacy satellite systems. Because of its uniqueness and proprietary nature, the company cannot disclose more specifics at this time.

We are letting our mobile-network-operating partners publish their own service dates, but we can say it will be in the next few years.

No, SpaceMobile will be the first and only space-based network to work with standard mobile phones. No separate or specialized satellite hardware is required.

How SpaceMobile Works
A sample user prompt for activating SpaceMobile with just one click.

No, our proprietary technology enables access to SpaceMobile from any location — even inside — regardless of visibility to the satellites on orbit.

AST’s proprietary satellites will be constructed and launched from our corporate headquarters and high-volume manufacturing plant in Midland, Texas. This 85,000 sq. ft. facility is located within the Midland International Air and Space Port, the first commercial airport to obtain a space port license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The collocation of the high-volume manufacturing and direct airside access with horizontal launch capability, using carrier aircraft at the Midland Space Port, will be an important element our planned rapid LEO satellite deployments.

The facility is one of the largest “NewSpace” manufacturing facilities in the United States and will create more than 160 space manufacturing jobs in Midland. Read more.

AST Midland International Air and Space Port
AST's corporate headquarters and high-volume manufacturing facility in Midland, Texas

In the short and long term, SpaceMobile will serve mobile subscribers who lose service when they move out of range of traditional networks' cell towers. It will also connect unserved and underserved people in medium- and low-density areas around the world.

AST estimates that the addressable cellular broadband market is in excess of $1 trillion (USD), with over 5 billion people constantly moving in and out of cellular coverage. Additionally,  approximately 4 billion people remain unconnected to mobile broadband. SpaceMobile is expected to bring affordable cellular broadband service to hundreds of millions – for the first time – helping countries and companies achieve rural and universal coverage goals.

SpaceMobile is designed to become an extension of land cellular networks to fill coverage gaps and enable connectivity everywhere. ​AST will sell SpaceMobile airtime to mobile network operators under a wholesale business model. The operator will, in turn, offer expanded and/or new connectivity plans to ​its subscribers.

By design, mobile subscribers will only need one click to stay connected, without any additional intervention or hardware, as they move between cell towers and SpaceMobile.

Our Mission

Our team of engineers and space scientists is on a mission to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by today’s 5 billion mobile subscribers and finally bring broadband to the billions who remain unconnected.