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Vodafone successfully made a phone call to space using a normal smartphone

A Vodafone engineer by the name of José Guevara has just made history by becoming the first person to take a space-based 5G internet voice call. 

In a press release shared, Vodafone said it successfully completed the call trial, together with AST SpaceMobile (a US-based publicly traded satellite designer and manufacturer).

Guevara, located in Spain, took the call coming from Hawaii, and used an ordinary Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone, just like the one anyone can purchase, to do so. The call was done via AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite. According to Vodafone, this is the “largest commercial communications array deployed in low Earth orbit.”

Improving connectivity around the world

In parallel, AST Space Mobile also tested mobile internet through the same infrastructure and apparently broke its previous record. This time around, the researchers achieved a download rate of almost 14Mbps, it was said, with Vodafone adding that this new technology has the potential to bring mobile internet to even the remotest of regions around the planet. 

Commenting on the news, Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, said the company wants to “close the mobile usage gap” for millions of people in Europe and Africa: “By making the world’s first space-based 5G call to Europe, we have taken another important step in realizing that ambition. We’re excited to be at the forefront of space technology through our partnership with AST SpaceMobile.”

This test marks yet another important milestone in AST SpaceMobile’s goal of launching five commercial BlueBird satellites, scheduled for Q1 2024. By using low Earth orbit satellites for this type of connectivity, the telco hopes to bring mobile communication – both voice and data – to places where physical infrastructure hasn’t been laid (or is challenging/expensive due to the landscape).

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