Mission: Impossible? Nokia and AST SpaceMobile are partnering to increase mobile connectivity around the world. In this article, we will explore how these companies plan to expand global coverage
Although it is difficult for many of us to imagine a world without mobile connectivity, for nearly half of the world’s population this is the reality. Lack of Internet access prevents vulnerable groups from being able to lift themselves out of poverty through online education, economic and job opportunities.
In an effort to increase connectivity, the Broadband Commission has set a lofty goal of connecting 75% of the world by 2025. To help capture the remaining under-covered areas, forward-thinking companies AST SpaceMobile and Nokia are stepping up.
In this article, we will explore how these two companies are expanding global coverage.
AST SpaceMobile and Nokia partnership
AST SpaceMobile is a startup that partners with cellular service providers to improve global internet access. The company seeks to build the first (and only) satellite broadband network. Since its founding in 2017, AST SpaceMobile has grown rapidly – increasing its market capitalization by a staggering 44.67% from 2019 to 2021:
This expansion allows the organization to advance groundbreaking projects, such as Blue Walker-3 – an AST SpaceMobile satellite model designed to work with standard mobile devices.
However, the company recognizes that collaboration speeds up progress. As such, it recently signed a five-year deal with Nokia, a leading mobile network provider. And the move is not surprising, given Nokia’s rich history in the mobile business.
In 1991 Nokia was directly involved in the first ever GSM communications, and in 2003 the company developed the first camera phone. With years of continuous innovation, Nokia has developed a strong technology portfolio, as shown in the innovation matrix below:
Through their partnership, the companies can work together to bridge the connectivity gap through development and iteration on products like the Blue-Walker 3. The terms of this global 4G and 5G deal include working on “Bringing cellular connectivity directly to 4G and 5G devices via low Earth orbiting satellites in collaboration with mobile network operators. “
Ultimately, companies hope to find realistic solutions that will enable them to expand global coverage and bridge the “digital divide” that affects 49% of the world’s population.
Wireless Access Networks: A major focus for Nokia and AST SpaceMobile
The main focus of Nokia and AST SpaceMobile is access to Nokia’s Radio Access Networks (RAN). These networks help provide mobile services to users who do not have access to terrestrial communication networks.
Part of this agreement means that AST SpaceMobile will have access to Nokia’s airspace radio portfolio, allowing the company to take advantage of the next generation of its base stations so that users can connect to the SpaceMobile network – regardless of location.
The chart below compares Nokia’s patenting activities with other innovators in the space sector. As you can see, Nokia is investing heavily in RAN, and as a result, the company holds the first portfolio.
Many other companies are following suit and investing in the 5G sector. In the coming years, the 5G market is expected to grow by more than 1,000% – which means that it is certainly possible to meet the Broadband Commission’s advocacy goals.
Moreover, the Nokia and AST SpaceMobile deal will expand coverage and enable both organizations to help bridge the connectivity gap.
If you are interested in keeping track of new developments in the mobile device space, try our Discovery platform for free. It gives you instant access to billions of global data points including company news, M&A activity, venture capital investments, technology trends, and more!
William He works as a product specialist at PatSnap, focusing on the discovery platform. Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Brighton. In his spare time, William enjoys sports and reading novels.