Can a smartphone like many others make a call via satellites and not via radio links? Until a few days ago we would have said no, even including the iPhone 14 which since March, even in Italy, can communicate with satellites but only in emergency conditions and via SMS. Instead, the collaboration between AST Space Mobile and AT&T resulted in a historical turning point: using a Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is indeed a top of the range but has no possibility of hooking up to satellites, it was possible to from Texas to contact a smartphone in Japan via the BlueWalker 3 satellite.
Unfortunately, the communication on the historic milestone does not contain many details on the modalities: BlueWalker 3 received the request from Galaxy S22 Ultra through a frequency spectrum that AT&T did not specify, and from Midland it opened a conversation that reached the other smartphone which was in Japan. This implies that any “normal” smartphone is potentially capable of making satellite calls. The men of Vodafone and Rakuten, as well as AT&T and AST also participated in the preparation and testing of the first voice calls via the BW3 satellite.
Vodafone CEO Margaret of the Valley puts the company in the front row for the use of technology:
Today we have taken another important step in mobile communications. 30 years after Vodafone sent the world’s first text message, we supported AST SpaceMobile in successfully placing the first test call direct to the smartphone using satellite communications. This is just the beginning. As the lead investor in AST SpaceMobile, we will continue to push technological boundaries by connecting many more millions of people around the globe when the service becomes commercially available.
In addition to the test calls, AST SpaceMobile engineers conducted test calls Compatibility test on different smartphones and devices.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is available online from eBay at 729 euros. To see the other 161 offers click here. (updated April 26, 2023, 4:50 pm)