UNITED STATES: Smartphones might eventually be able to access ultrafast speeds anywhere globally, thanks to technological advancements.
To bring 5G into space, a collaboration of three telecom, tech, and defence companies wants to build a satellite network that would allow smartphone users to wirelessly access extremely high speeds and low latency wherever they are in the world.
In order to enable people to access wireless internet in some of the aridest topographies and inaccessible regions, low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites are being tested by the US chip producer Qualcomm, the French aerospace company Thales, and the Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson.
The test-bed for the 5G network will be situated at a Thales site that simulates the space environment in France. This site might also be utilised as a backup for terrestrial networks during failures or calamities.
For the first time, a network equipment provider like Ericsson is attempting to employ LEO satellites to bring 5G connections to smartphones with the help of the pilot project. At a time when countries are becoming more concerned about preserving the independence and stability of their telecom infrastructure, it may pave the way for global wireless coverage from space.
To connect terrestrial infrastructure to satellites, guarantee that the network it builds is not excessively expensive, and finally win private or public funding for the satellite launches, it must, nevertheless, overcome considerable obstacles.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX project dominates the emerging LEO ecosystem, but an increasing number of businesses are looking to enter the “low-earth” economy, which is located between 150km and 2,000km above the surface and offers chances to boost scale and cut costs.
Håkan Djuphammar, head of special projects at Ericsson stated that there is currently no G from space; this would be the first. He continued, “LEO [satellites] have made it [far less expensive to send up a satellite] and have decreased the distance the radio signal has to travel.” In recent years, “the growth [of LEO] has been exponential, largely due to SpaceX.”
The development of a potential new “non-terrestrial network” standard by one of the most important telecoms standard-setting bodies, 3GPP, earlier this year made it possible to test a potential new LEO 5G network, which will aim to demonstrate that the technology can actually function on smartphones.
Some smaller businesses have been testing their own exclusive space-based networks for phones that do not rely on the industry standard and, as a result, would likely have a constrained application. For instance, AST SpaceMobile is developing a cellular network in space and intends to launch its first satellite in the middle of August.