Verizon and AST SpaceMobile team up in $100 million deal for satellite phone service


Verizon logo on smartphone, next to other devices (2)

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Verizon and AST SpaceMobile have entered into a $100 million partnership.
  • The partnership will allow Verizon customers to access satellite connectivity when they need it.
  • The goal is to provide coverage even in areas where cellular signals are unreachable by terrestrial-based infrastructure.

T-Mobile isn’t the only carrier thinking about satellite connectivity; Verizon is also getting in on the game. Instead of following T-Mobile’s lead by partnering with SpaceX, however, Verizon is partnering with AST SpaceMobile.

Today, Verizon and AST SpaceMobile announced they are entering into a strategic partnership with a $100 million commitment from Verizon. The result of which will provide Verizon customers with direct-to-cellular satellite service from AST SpaceMobile when they need it.

If you’re unfamiliar with AST SpaceMobile, it is a Midland, TX-based company that offers satellite cellular broadband. The company currently partners with over 45 mobile network providers from around the world who “collectively serve 2.8 billion existing subscribers.”

AST’s network uses an 850MHz spectrum, which it claims on its website is designed to provide connectivity at 4G and 5G speeds. As Verizon also uses an 850MHz spectrum for some of its 4G LTE and 5G connectivity, you won’t likely have to upgrade your phone to take advantage of this benefit, if the phone is new enough.

AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan claims that the partnership will allow it to “target 100% coverage of the continental United States.” Meanwhile, Verizon SVP Srini Kalapala states:

By entering into this agreement with AST, we will now be able to use our spectrum in conjunction with AST’s satellite network to provide essential connectivity in remote corners of the U.S. where cellular signals are unreachable through traditional land-based infrastructure.

As Kalapala alludes to in his statement, the goal of this partnership is to eliminate dead zones. Verizon wants to have the ability to continue providing coverage for its customers even in remote areas where cellular service is traditionally difficult to obtain.

Shortly after the announcement was made, it appears that AST’s stock skyrocketed. According to CNBC, the firm’s stock went up by more than 57% compared to where it closed previously.

With Verizon and T-Mobile taking two different approaches to satellite connectivity, we want to know what you think. Who would you trust more with your satellite connectivity needs: T-Mobile and SpaceX or Verizon and AST SpaceMobile?

Who would you trust more with your satellite connectivity needs?

11 votes

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