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PLDT, Smart with AST SpaceMobile first to test space-based cellular broadband

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PLDT, Smart, and AST SpaceMobile met with the DICT and NTC to express their support for the government’s overall thrust to provide connectivity to Filipinos across the country, including those in far-flung areas.  

The group presented their plans to conduct tests of AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 satellite, which is being designed to communicate directly with unmodified mobile phones from low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite. Smart will be the first to test this technology in the Philippines.

In July 2021, Smart signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate with US-based AST SpaceMobile, a company building “the first space-based cellular broadband network-accessible directly by standard mobile phones.”

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Meanwhile, earlier this year, Smart’s parent company PLDT and global satellite operator Telesat of Canada also successfully conducted the Philippines’ first on-orbit testing of high-speed broadband connectivity with Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite, marking yet another milestone for PLDT as the country’s first local service provider to conduct live in-orbit test over LEO satellite using an end-user terminal installed at the PLDT facility in Greenhills.

These relationships highlight opportunities for the country, through PLDT and Smart, to use innovations in the satellite industry to expand mobile and Internet services to more hard-to-reach communities across an archipelago like the Philippines.

PLDT and Smart’s pioneering foray into satellite-powered communication is part of a broader initiative to deliver world-class customer services across the country, complementing the nationwide rollout of their fiber optics, and wireless networks based on 4G and 5G technologies.

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