Thales, Qualcomm and Ericsson announced on Tuesday their plans for a space-based network that will allow smartphones to communicate by connecting the entire planet directly via satellites.
The three companies are expected to launch hundreds of 5G satellites to cover “extreme geographic environments and remote regions separated by oceans,” Agence France-Presse reported.
The plan may reduce the number of base stations and antennas used to send and receive signals on existing mobile networks. However, the idea is still in the preliminary stages.
The three companies stated that they have run “multiple studies and simulations” and will now explore possible applications of the technology. “The results could actually mean that future 5G smartphones could use 5G to connect anywhere on the planet,” the statement said.
One of the key benefits of this technology is greater security, which can be beneficial to national governments. They also point out that space-based networks can provide backup in the event of a natural disaster or other major power outage affecting land-based networks.
Erik Ekudden, Ericsson’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, said it is too early to say when the first satellites will be installed. Thales said 600 to 800 satellites could be launched in 4 to 5 years.