First Ever Call to Space Marks a New Chapter in Telecommunications

Whenever you make a call to someone, your call is routed through a series of cell towers that are placed on the Earth’s surface. However, companies like AT&T as well as AST SpaceMobile have been trying to user satellites since they can provide higher quality than might have been the case otherwise. On the 20th of April 2023, the first ever call was routed through a satellite, and it might mark the beginning of a new chapter in telecom history.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this call was made to a Japanese company by the name of Rakuten. The call was initiated by a Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone which was using an AT&T SIM card. Engineers working at Vodafone assisted with the call, and it was routed through the BlueWalker 3 Satellite owned by AST.

There is currently no use on what type of bandwidth the call used, but given how 5G is still only usable by T-Mobile and Vodafone was the company involved, it is likely that it was conducted over the 3G network with all things having been considered and taken into account. In spite of the fact that this is the case, it marks the first time ever that a call was sent to space and then rerouted back to Earth, which might allow for lower latency as well as making on the ground cell towers obsolete.

Also, while the call was not 5G enabled, AST stated that the tests confirmed that 5G could be used in the future. It will be interesting to see where things go from here on out, since a huge number of competitors would want to throw their hat in the ring as well.

Five more BlueBird satellites are going to be launched next year in 2024, and when that happens, we may start to see the global telecommunications industry expanding beyond Earth’s borders. This might also help facilitate communication between Earth and the Space Station allowing conversations to occur in real time rather than with a delay.

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