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PLDT Group to test space-based cellular broadband

PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications are set to conduct the country's first space-based cellular broadband test.
PLDT Group to test space-based cellular broadband
File photo: PLDT, Smart logos

Smart will be the first to test the technology

With the group's technology collaborator AST SpaceMobile, PLDT/Smart discussed this plan with officials of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) during a series of meetings.
PLDT Group to test space-based cellular broadband
Meeting with NTC officials

In a statement, PLDT said AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 satellite is "being designed to communicate directly with unmodified mobile phones from low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite."

DICT Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic expressed his support for the initiative as he acknowledged the need to explore and develop new technologies to improve the local telco market and expand the reach of the services, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

Fortunately, newer technologies in satellites are capable of providing much-needed cellular connectivity with more flexibility in their deployment. LEO satellites are an excellent addition to our solution set as they offer low latency, high throughput internet to our GIDAs, and AST SpaceMobile’s technology which is being designed to directly connect to ordinary smartphones could be a game-changer, Caintic said.

Last July 2021, Smart signed a deal with US-based AST SpaceMobile. It noted that the company seeks to build "the first space-based cellular broadband network-accessible directly by standard mobile phones."

In case you missed it, PLDT rival Globe has also partnered with AST SpaceMobile, to launch "space-based" broadband.

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