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Historic: The first satellite voice call using a regular telephone

AST SpaceMobile has just proven that you don’t need to have a smartphone for satellite communication. The company, in partnership with AT&T, one of the main investors, made the first satellite call using smartphones out of the box, specifically Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. AST placed the call from Texas to a phone in Japan.

Now, it’s worth distinguishing the following: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 from a phone like Galaxy S23 It supports satellite calling (even if Samsung hasn’t done anything with it yet), but only via text. This system uses the Iridium satellite network and works just like Garmin’s and competitors’ InReach products. You cannot use it for phone calls.

With this first satellite call, the signal that originated in Texas traveled from the Galaxy S22 Ultra to the BlueWalker 3 satellite, whence it then returned to Japan to another smartphone. AT&T’s unspecified spectrum was a middle ground, which is why the phones themselves didn’t need to be modified for this to work. In theory, you can do this with any LTE-enabled phone.

According to ASTThis initial test also proves what we all really want to know: that BlueWalker 3 can support cellular broadband data speeds. In other words, this test shows that it is possible to connect anyone anywhere, even without expensive cell tower infrastructure, even with unchanged smartphones.

In the future, this may allow people living in rural areas or developing countries to have cellular connectivity.

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