AT&T Targets Global Connectivity Via Satellite Tech

AT&T Targets Global Connectivity Via Satellite Tech

"Global Connectivity"

“Advancements are continually being made in satellite technology terrain, despite the inherent risks and hefty capital investments often tied to satellite launches,” said JR Wilson, Vice President of tower strategy and planning at AT&T. He spoke of satellites’ impact in eradicating geographical communication barriers, but also pointed out the crucial need for caution due to the high costs and potential risks.

Wilson stressed the economics of satellite system launches and the importance of creating a market-desirable product. He prompted consideration for both expenses and potential ROI before diving into such a hefty project. In his view, the venture’s success hinges on not just the technicalities but also market demand and customer value.

Major corporations like Google, Rakuten Group, and Vodafone Group are now working with AT&T and AST SpaceMobile, a satellite broadband provider. They are testing an operational satellite, hoping to provide seamless connectivity to AT&T users worldwide. The goal is to leverage satellite technology to ensure continuity in connectivity. Currently, the operational satellite being tested is successfully demonstrating its potential.

Some advancements have included industry firsts like voice and data capability, 5G video calls. AT&T plans to launch more satellites with AST SpaceMobile by the first half of 2024, leading a commercial market entry. These advancements could stimulate a shift from a 4G-based infrastructure towards a more efficient 5G network, and widen AT&T’s network coverage, including remote and underserved areas.

A commercial service rollout is anticipated in 2025 following the satisfactory performance of the first six satellites. Once achieved, the remaining constellation would be launched. The commercial rollout will hinge on the performance of the initial satellites. Wilson remains optimistic, due to AT&T’s success with the US public emergency service. Plans are in place for a US launch, with approximately 45 satellites required for national coverage and double for global coverage.

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