Smart Telecommunications has stepped its game up beyond the skies after inking an agreement with United States-based company AST SpaceMobile to expand its broadband coverage through space-based satellites.

Under the memorandum of agreement (MOA), Smart will make use of AST SpaceMobile’s “space-based cellular broadband network” to diversify its broadband operations in the Philippines.

“This collaboration between Smart and AST SpaceMobile strongly supports this vision, as we continue to invest in our networks and explore the most relevant innovations that will enable us to continue expanding the reach of our services alongside delivering exceptional customer experience across the Philippines’ more than 7,000 islands,” Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio shared in the statement.

With this new project, Smart joins the likes of Converge ICT Solutions in exploring the possibilities that lie in outer space.

Between the second half of 2022 and early 2023, AST SpaceMobile is expected to launch 20 satellites into space and by 2024 expects to achieve global coverage. The move will help Smart fill in gaps in its connection, especially in Philippine areas that are harder to reach.

According to AST SpaceMobile, their broadband technology could be used by standard smartphones. This means users would not need to buy or employ additional equipment to benefit from the improved connection.

It’s able to offer 4G and 5G speeds anywhere on Earth, even during a flight.

Converge ICT Solutions is planning to do the same by partnering with Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, a company that’s in the process of rolling out low-orbit broadband satellites through its Starlink initiative.

Smart said the improved service would be available to its more than 70 million mobile subscribers in the country, however, the project’s other details remain under wraps.

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Image credit: AST SpaceMobile and Smart