Advanced Television

AST SpaceMobile share price rockets

May 31, 2024

Recently it was asked if AST SpaceMobile, the would-be Direct-to-Cellular satellite business, could beat off competition from Space X’s Starlink and other rivals. It now seems that Verizon, along with AT&T, believes AST can make a very major impact on North American cellular connectivity. Verizon put $100 million into AST’s business and in the process sent AST’s share price rocketing. May 29th saw its share price rise by 70 per cent, to $10.05 per share. Despite some profit taking on May 30th, the position represents an 82 per cent improvement over this week’s 5-day period.

The Verizon commitment is a partnership agreement which covers AST’s eventual signals being received – and sent – by ordinary smartphones. CEO Abel Avellan said that his firm’s connectivity wasn’t just for people but also machines and predicate what things will happen, such as traffic or where people will be.

Verizon joins AT&T which means that AST has been selected by two of the US three telco giants. But there’s much more. There are another 32 telcos around the world which have public agreements (usually MoUs) with AST. There are another 13 telcos which have not gone public with their relationship, but the end result is that AST has around 3 billion theoretical connections via its many telco partners.

AST’s partners include Vodafone (worldwide), Telefónica (South America and Europe), Orange (Africa and Europe), Claro (S. America), MTN (Africa and Asia), Optus and Telstra (Australia) and Zain (Mid-East).

The agreement also means that the US is near-saturated with space-based suppliers. AST has secured AT&T and Verizon, and SpaceX has secured T-Mobile.

Verizon will use AST for its 850 MHz spectrum over the US. AST says its aim is to enable 100 per cent coverage of the US for their customers. As of Q1 2024 Verizon had 114.8 million wireless connections in the US.

Investment banks have also praised the moves. On May 30th ScotiaBank raised its target price for AST to $12.90 (from $7.40). UBS, in a detailed report on AST, said it believed the operator will be a leader in the emerging space to cellular broadband market, noting: “This is a market with the potential to generate $10s of billions in annual revenue by providing uninterrupted coverage to traditional mobile devices.”

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