Verizon’s partnership with AST SpaceMobile will keep subscribers connected across the U.S.

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Now that Verizon has created a “strategic partnership” with AST Space Mobile, the “Big Three” U.S. carriers are getting set up to deliver satellite connectivity to their customers. A couple of weeks ago, AT&T signed a deal with the same AST Space Mobile that runs through 2030. Satellite coverage for AT&T and Verizon customers will be dependent on five low-earth orbiting satellites that will be launched this summer from Cape Canaveral, Florida. T-Mobile, always the “Un-carrier,” is taking a different approach and is working with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its wholly-owned Starlink subsidiary.
Abel Avellan, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of AST SpaceMobile said, “This new partnership with Verizon will enable AST SpaceMobile to target 100% coverage of the continental United States on premium 850 MHz spectrum with two major U.S. mobile operators in the most valuable wireless market in the world, a transformational commercial milestone. This partnership will enhance cellular connectivity in the United States, essentially eliminating dead zones and empowering remote areas of the country with space-based connectivity.”

The $100 million that Verizon has committed to the partnership with AST Space Mobile consists of $65 million in commercial prepayments ($45 million is subject to certain conditions) and a $35 million investment by Verizon in convertible notes. AST Space Mobile already has deals with over 45 mobile network operators globally that combined count 2.8 billion consumers as subscribers.

In the press release, the companies say that the combinationΒ  of Verizon‘s terrestrial mobile network, the multi-operator 850MHz band, and “the largest and most powerful commercial communications arrays ever deployed in low Earth orbit” will allow Verizon customers to be connected anywhere in the continental U.S. AST says that its satellites will allow calls to be made and received in both 4G and 5G speeds and since Verizon already uses the 850MHz band, customers of the nation’s largest carrier using a fairly new phone will be able to connect to the satellite network without having to purchase a new handset.

Discussing the “strategic partnership” with AST Space Mobile, Srini Kalapala, Senior Vice President of Technology and Product Development at Verizon, said, “Verizon has always been strategic and efficient with our spectrum strategy. We use the spectrum entrusted to us to deliver outstanding cellular service for our customers through our terrestrial network. By entering into this agreement with AST, we will now be able to use our spectrum in conjunction with AST’s satellite network to provide essential connectivity in remote corners of the U.S. where cellular signals are unreachable through traditional land-based infrastructure.”

If you happened to take a flyer on AST Space Mobile’s shares on Tuesday, congratulations are in order. When the partnership with Verizon was announced early Wednesday morning, the stock, which trades on NASDAQ under the symbol ASTS, soared more than 69% to close at $9.02. After hours, an additional 3.65% was tacked on as the stock closed at $9.34.


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