Phone call via satellite using a regular smartphone – also 5G data

Of course, current iPhones can send data via satellites in emergency situations, but two new demonstrations show that we may soon be able to regularly make voice phone calls via satellite communications. You can watch the 5G call and demo in the video below.

The test phone call – along with a separate 5G data download – was made from Maui, Hawaii, to Madrid using the new low-Earth orbit satellite…

Beyond emergency assistance via satellite

Satellite Emergency SOS on iPhone 14 and 15 relies on an ultra-low bandwidth connection that is only suitable for very short text messages.

The iPhone asks you a series of questions and turns your answers into short codes that can be transmitted in just a few bytes of data using existing satellites designed for this type of emergency messaging.

You cannot make voice calls using this feature.

Phone calls via satellite

In contrast, AST SpaceMobile demonstrated the use of satellite communications for regular voice calls and 5G data. The company achieved download speeds of 14 Mbps, which is nothing special in terms of conventional 5G base stations, but is significant for satellite communications.

The company announced this in a press release.

AST SpaceMobile, the company behind the first and only space-based cellular broadband network available directly to standard mobile phones, today announced another unprecedented leap in telecommunications by successfully establishing the world’s first 5G voice and data connection between an everyday, unmodified smartphone and a satellite. in space.

The company’s engineers demonstrated 5G space communications by calling from Maui, Hawaii, USA, to a Vodafone engineer in Madrid, Spain, using AT&T spectrum and AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite. […]

In a separate test, the company broke its previous record for a broadband data session on a space cellular network, achieving download speeds of approximately 14 Mbps.

The call was made from a location with no mobile voice or data connection, using a completely unmodified 5G smartphone (in this case, a Samsung Galaxy S22). Vodafone and Nokia collaborated with AST and AT&T to conduct the test.

Brings voice calls and 5G to the desert

It is hoped that this technology will enable full smartphone connectivity in areas inaccessible by a land mobile base station, with all companies involved expressing their ambitions.

AST: “We are more confident than ever that space-based broadband can help transform internet connectivity around the world, filling gaps and connecting the unconnected.”

Vodafone: “Vodafone is committed to closing the mobile usage gap for millions of people in Europe and Africa.”

AT&T: “We are all working together to achieve a shared vision of space-based communications for consumers, businesses and first responders around the world.”

Nokia: “Space-based broadband can provide critical connectivity for underserved communities around the world.”