Lynk lays claim to world’s first satellite smartphone call

lynk call

A battle is brewing in the satellite direct-to-device (D2D) market as another company has staked its claim to a significant milestone.

Lynk is building a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation it describes as ‘cell towers in space’ to offer direct connectivity to unmodified, off-the-shelf devices. On Tuesday it said it has carried out two-way voice calls over its network, posting a video on YouTube as proof, and claiming the feat as a world first.

The thing is, rival D2D operator AST SpaceMobile made the same claim in April. With participation from AT&T, Vodafone and Rakuten, it said it used its own satellite network to conduct a two-way voice call between the US and Japan.

So why is Lynk saying it did it first?

According to co-founder and CEO Charles Miller, by sharing a video of the calls, Lynk has a stronger claim to the title than anyone else.

“Carl Sagan once remarked ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.’ The video we release today underscores Lynk’s commitment to a higher standard,” he said. “When Lynk completed the first-ever connection from a satellite to a standard phone on Earth in March 2020, we shared video to demonstrate our results to the world. Today we are doing the same for two-way voice calls.”

In the video it is possible to see unusually-formatted phone numbers on the screens on some of the smartphones used for the test. Captions on the video say that these are Lynk’s test SIM numbers. As for the rest of the video, aside from a graphic illustrating the orbit of Lynk’s cell tower in space, it’s a bunch of people standing in a park, calling each other from foldable tables set up about 30 feet apart, and saying things like “yes, I can hear you,” and “we’re calling over satellite.”

There is footage of another call taking place between two people while walking, another call somewhere in Virginia at night, and another seemingly taking place in London.

Of course, don’t take our word for it, watch the video and decide for yourself whether it qualifies as more conclusive proof than that of AST SpaceMobile.

Lynk has in all likelihood conducted a successful voice call over its satellite direct-to-smartphone network, an achievement worthy of recognition. After all, while companies in the telecom and tech sectors are known to overplay their accomplishments on occasion, they don’t tend to tell bare-faced lies about them.

That includes AST SpaceMobile, YouTube video or otherwise.


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One comment

  1. Avatar David 15/08/2023 @ 1:40 pm

    Lynk is calling another phone that is also using the satellite. It’s testing incoming and outgoing calls simultaneously. AST is only testing one way.

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