back to article AT&T formalizes deal for space-based cellular service on unmodified mobiles

Not to be outdone by Starlink and T-Mobile, AT&T and AST SpaceMobile have finalized a deal to eventually bring a space-based connectivity option to AT&T, too.  AT&T said the definitive commercial agreement between the pair means AST will provide a space-based broadband network for unmodified cell phones until 2030, though it's …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So, 64 square meters at 500km

    Looks like most of that is solar panels. The number of articles explaining why astronomers are unhappy is impressive.

    And they want to chuck 60+ more up there.

    BlueWalker wiki here

    Space.com complains

    Nature is unhappy as well

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: So, 64 square meters at 500km

      So, how long until a "space Banksy" shows up and graffitis them?

      1. Homo-Sapien Floridanus

        Re: So, 64 square meters at 500km

        Or space force fires at it thinking it’s the side of a Borg cube.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: So, 64 square meters at 500km

      Looks like most of that is solar panels

      Looks to me as if most of that is antennae - especially if you click on the picture in the article.

      And what's the blurred-out bit in the middle?

      M.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Phased array

        Yep, it looks like a 48 by 48 minus a few gaps phased array.

        A phased array is used to direct the beam without using moving parts. Think of it as MIMO on steroids. A more precise explanation can be found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phased_array

        So that phased array can dynamically target its beam on a X and Y position on Earth, even while the satellite moves quickly through space. And it can target multiple "spots" at different locations simultaneously. With it, it both sends a far higher percentage of its output power to the spots of active users and listens far more focused to the users send cell phone signal then any normal satellite dish could. To get a phased array of 48 by 48 minus in space and working would be a great technical feat. It roughly requires 2000 different high frequency senders and receivers to operate in very tight timings towards each other and plenty and plenty of computing power to direct and target the beams.

    3. Natalie Gritpants Jr

      Re: So, 64 square meters at 500km

      It probably is, the antennas are on the underside, so no-one can figure out the configuration and number of channels they can support. I worked on a tiny part of one of the ASICs for that <insert Top Gun quote>

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Technically Curious

    https://www.starlink.com/gb/business/direct-to-cell

    https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-satellites.html#:~:text=Starlink%20satellites%20are%20easier%20to,342%20miles%20(550%20km).

    As per the diagram, I’m still curious how *unmodified* LTE Phones will fare connecting to a Satellite - which are from what I can see are 342 miles high. Esp. As for normal Internet access this - that I would expect doesn’t move - you get a Staflink terminal/base station with clear line of sight.

    Notes Starlink DTC currently Text only. ‘Voice/Data coming in 2025’.

    Good luck to them… it almost seems too good to be true….

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Technically Curious

      It'll do away with all those base stations next to schools frying the children's brains. All the kids have to do is put a mobile transmitting at full power next to their ear.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Technically Curious

        next to their ear

        Duh! Get where it's at, dood. Have you not seen today's yoof using phones?

        On the rare occasions they actually talk into them, they hold them horizontally in front of their faces to talk at the USB connector, and horizontally next to their ears to listen, often on speaker rather than in "normal phone" mode.

        Kids of today, eh?

        M.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Technically Curious

          Ah yes, the apprentice generation.

      2. Natalie Gritpants Jr

        Re: Technically Curious

        School roofs are the best place for moby masts, it means the kiddies phones turn their transmit power down.

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