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AT&T cuts a deal to launch satellite-to-smartphone service soon

AT&T logo with an illustrated red and orange background.
Illustration: The Verge

AST SpaceMobile has ramped up demonstrations of voice calls, texts, and video calls via satellite over the last year, using 4G LTE and 5G connections with download bandwidth reaching 14Mbps. Now the company says that a previous memorandum of understanding with AT&T to work on a space-based broadband network for phones has become a “definitive commercial agreement,” just in time for AST’s first five commercial satellites to launch this summer.

The FCC has gotten things rolling on a framework (PDF) for companies interested in building these types of services, with the idea of what Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called a single network future. “We won’t need to think about what network, where, and what services are available. Connections…

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