Nokia Inc’s deal with AST Spacemobile – what does it mean for mobile connectivity?

Nokia Inc's deal with AST Spacemobile - what does it mean for connectivity?

Impossible Goal? Nokia and AST SpaceMobile are partnering to enhance mobile connectivity around the world. In this article, we will find out how these companies plan to expand their global coverage

While it is hard for many of us to imagine a world without mobile connectivity, it is the reality for almost half of the world’s population. Lack of internet access prevents vulnerable groups from being able to lift themselves out of poverty through life-changing educational, economic and career opportunities.

To increase connectivity, the Broadband Commission has set a lofty target of connecting 75% of the world by 2025. To help capture the remaining missed areas, forward-thinking companies AST SpaceMobile and Nokia are stepping up.

In this article, we will find out how both these companies are expanding their global coverage.

AST Spacemobile and Nokia Partnership

AST Spacemobile is a startup company that collaborates with cellular providers to improve global Internet access. The company is on a mission to build the first (and only) space-based broadband network. Since its inception in 2017, AST Spacemobile has experienced rapid growth – with an astonishing 44.67% growth in its market cap from 2019 to 2021:

PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart shows the accelerated market growth of the AST Spacemobile over the past three years.
PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart shows the accelerated market growth of the AST Spacemobile over the past three years.

This expansion is allowing the organization to move forward with groundbreaking projects, such as the Blue Walker-3-AST spacemobile’s prototype satellite designed to operate with standard mobile equipment.

However, the company realizes that collaboration accelerates progress. As such, it recently signed a five-year deal with leading mobile network provider, Nokia. And this move is not surprising, given the rich history of Nokia in the field of mobile phones.

In 1991, Nokia had direct involvement in GSM communications for the first time, and in 2003 the company developed the first camera phone. Thanks to years of continuous innovation, Nokia has developed a powerful technology portfolio, as shown in the innovation matrix below:

PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart breaks down Nokia's patent portfolio and shows where they are doing the heaviest innovation.
PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart breaks down Nokia’s patent portfolio and shows where they are doing the heaviest innovation.

Through their partnership, the companies can work together to bridge the connectivity gap by developing and iterating products like the BlueWalker 3. The terms of this global 4G and 5G deal include work.Bring cellular connectivity directly to 4G and 5G devices via low Earth-orbiting satellites in collaboration with mobile network operators,

Ultimately, the companies hope to find real-world solutions that will enable them to expand worldwide coverage and close the “digital divide” that affects 49% of the global population.

Radio Access Networks: A Key Focus for Nokia and the AST Spacemobile

A key focus for Nokia and the AST spacemobile is access to Nokia’s Radio Access Networks (RAN). These networks help in providing mobile services to users who do not have access to terrestrial communication networks.

Part of the agreement means that AST Spacemobile will have access to Nokia’s airspace radio portfolio, allowing the company to leverage its next-generation base stations to connect to the Spacemobile network regardless of user location.

The graph below compares Nokia’s patent activity with other innovators in the space sector. As you can see, Nokia is investing heavily in RAN, and as a result, the company has a top-notch portfolio.

PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart compares Nokia's patenting trends with other disruptors in the RAN tech sector.
PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart compares Nokia’s patenting trends with other disruptors in the RAN tech sector.

final thoughts

Many other companies are following suit and investing in the 5G sector. In the coming years, the 5G market is predicted to grow by over 1000% – meaning it is certainly possible that the Broadband Commission’s support targets will be met.

PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart shows the projected growth of the 5G market.
PatSnap Discovery: This discovery chart shows the projected growth of the 5G market.

What’s more, the Nokia and AST SpaceMobile deal will further expand coverage and enable both organizations to help bridge the connectivity gap.

If you’re interested in keeping up with 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, VC investments, tech trends, and much more!

author bio

William

William Works at PatSnap as a Product Specialist with a focus on the Discovery Platform. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the University of Brighton. In his spare time, William enjoys sports and reading novels.

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