By Will Feuer

AST SpaceMobile said that Japan-based Rakuten Mobile, an investor in AST, plans to provide satellite-to-mobile service in Japan with AST SpaceMobile, starting in 2026.

AST SpaceMobile said in a securities filing that Chief Executive Abel Avellan appeared at a press conference in Tokyo alongside Rakuten Mobile, which disclosed the plans. The company said the actual timing of the start of the satellite-to-cell service is uncertain.

Various satellite companies are racing to stand up space-based cellular networks that can help fill the gaps of traditional cell towers. AST SpaceMobile is working with other network operators, including AT&T, along with Rakuten. Elon Musk's SpaceX has struck a similar deal with T-Mobile.

Write to Will Feuer at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-16-24 0634ET