Globe Telecom Inc. said Friday it signed a deal with AST SpaceMobile Inc., which is building the world’s first space-based cellular broadband network, to further expand its coverage and reach remote and underserved areas in the country.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the implementation of the planned AST SpaceMobile cellular broadband service in the Philippines.
“Globe has always been a pioneer in bringing first-to-market digital solutions to empower Filipinos. It is our mission to enable inclusive economic growth and provide quality education and e-health even in remote and still unconnected rural communities,” said Globe network strategy and technology enablement director Gerhard Tan.
“Space-based broadband, otherwise known as Global Mobile Personal Communications Services, or GMPCS, is the new frontier in connectivity. We are proud to take the first step towards the adoption of this planned breakthrough technology that could address the need for reliable and practical mobile broadband connectivity, especially in geographically isolated and connectivity-challenged areas in the Philippines,” he said.
Once launched, AST SpaceMobile aims to provide the first satellite broadband service directly to standard mobile phones in the country. Globe’s collaboration with AST SpaceMobile will enable its telecom services to cover areas beyond the reach of land-based cell towers.
The space-based cellular broadband service is being designed to offer voice, video data and internet access via 2G, 4G/LTE and 5G signals helping to also provide connectivity during times of crisis including disasters and emergencies.
Globe’s collaboration with AST SpaceMobile is a part of its aggressive expansion to boost service across the country and deliver a first world network.
“The Philippines’ thousands of islands create formidable challenges to meet a growing demand for cellular broadband connectivity,” said AST SpaceMobile chief commercial officer Chris Ivory.
“We believe our planned space-based network solution is well-suited to help, and we’re excited to work with Globe,” he said.
Globe earmarked a capital expenditure of P89 billion ($1.7 billion) this year to fortify its infrastructure, including new cell sites, upgrades to 4G/LTE and 5G rollout acceleration, and the expedited fiberization of households across the country.
Globe built 1,407 new cell sites, including 4G/LTE and 5G in 2021. It also upgraded 22,300 mobile sites and installed over 2,000 5G outdoor sites and in-building solutions.