Globe partners with AST SpaceMobile to launch space-based cellular broadband service

Globe partners with AST SpaceMobile to launch space-based cellular broadband service

Globe Telecom has announced that it collaborates with AST SpaceMobile Inc. to bring space-based cellular broadband service to the Philippines.

The two telecommunication companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate on implementing the planned AST SpaceMobile cellular broadband service in the country.

AST SpaceMobile Inc., a Texas-headquartered telco firm, is building the world's first space-based cellular broadband network. The MOU with Globe will enable it to expand its services throughout the Philippines using cutting-edge satellite technology.

Once launched, AST SpaceMobile plans to offer the country's first satellite broadband service delivered directly to standard mobile phones. Globe's collaboration with AST SpaceMobile enables it to provide telecom services in areas that are not covered by land-based cell towers.

The space-based cellular broadband service will provide voice, video, data, and internet access via 2G, 4G/LTE, and 5G signals. This will be helpful in enabling connectivity during times of crisis, such as disasters and emergencies.

Gerhard Tan, Globe's Network Strategy and Technology Enablement Director, said that the telco "has always been a pioneer in bringing first-to-market digital solutions to empower Filipinos," and their partnership with AST SpaceMobile is "another step in Globe's continuing initiatives to provide digital connectivity to remote rural communities as part of its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals."

Tan added that their mission is "to enable inclusive economic growth and provide quality education and e-health even in remote and still unconnected rural communities."

Moreover, Tan noted that "space-based broadband, otherwise known as Global Mobile Personal Communications Services, or GMPCS, is the new frontier in connectivity." With that, Tan shared they are "proud to take the first step towards the adoption of this planned breakthrough technology that could address the need for reliable and practical mobile broadband connectivity, especially in geographically isolated and connectivity-challenged areas in the Philippines."

Globe's collaboration with AST SpaceMobile is part of the company's aggressive expansion strategy to increase service across the country and provide a #1stWorldNetwork. It is in discussions with a number of cutting-edge technology companies in order to identify, assess, and evaluate emerging technologies that will help Globe maintain its industry leadership and competitiveness.

In 2022, it earmarked PHP 89 billion (USD 1.7 billion) in capital expenditures to strengthen its infrastructure, which will include new cell site construction, upgrades to 4G/LTE, and 5G rollout acceleration, as well as expedited fiberization of households across the country.

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Globe added 1,407 new cell sites in 2021, including 4G/LTE and 5G. Additionally, it upgraded 22,300 mobile sites and installed over 2,000 5G outdoor and indoor sites.

Meanwhile, Globe's rival Smart Communications also signed an MOU with AST SpaceMobile last year to launch its satellite-linked mobile broadband connectivity, "Cell site in the sky," as the telco describes.

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