AST SpaceMobile: 2023 Business Update & Q4 Results

AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTS), the pioneer behind the world’s first space-based cellular broadband network directly accessible by everyday smartphones, shares its recent business developments for the three months and fiscal year ended December 31, 2023.

Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile, expressed enthusiasm for the company’s progress in 2024, highlighting the addition of new partners, the scaling up of manufacturing operations, and nearing commercialization. Avellan stated, “With a clear vision and a robust foundation, AST SpaceMobile is poised to lead the charge in bridging the digital divide.”

Business Update:

Strategic Partnerships and Commercial Agreements: AST SpaceMobile has forged key partnerships with industry giants such as AT&T, Google, Vodafone, and the United States Government, reflecting confidence in its technology and business model. Notable milestones include strategic financing and a fixed-firm-price contract award from the US Government.

FCC Approval: The FCC has approved the framework for using terrestrial spectrum for SpaceMobile (Direct-to-Device), potentially unlocking over 200 MHz of terrestrial low-band spectrum for satellite direct-to-device use. This regulatory development is expected to facilitate AST’s commercial services in the US, with implications for global regulatory entities.

Operational Capabilities: Production, assembly, and testing capabilities are now fully operational at AST SpaceMobile’s facilities in Texas. Despite challenges with suppliers impacting the production schedule of Block 1 BlueBird satellites, strategic measures have been taken to mitigate dependencies and accelerate production for subsequent satellites.

Orbital Launch Updates: The company has outlined a near-term timeline for orbital launches, with Block 1 BlueBird satellites expected to be transported to launch sites between July and August 2024. Additionally, a launch contract has been secured for the first next-generation Block 2 BlueBird satellite, slated for launch between December 2024 and March 2025.

Custom ASIC Development: AST SpaceMobile is progressing with the development of a custom Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) with TSMC. This ASIC is designed to enable peak data rates of up to 120 Mbps on 40 MHz spectrum channels, representing a significant advancement in processing bandwidth on Block 2 BlueBird satellites.

Non-Dilutive Funding: The company is actively pursuing non-dilutive quasi-governmental funding sources, with non-binding letters of interest from three institutions. This framework aims to provide significant long-term, lower-cost capital to support AST SpaceMobile’s growth initiatives.

Financial Highlights:

As of December 31, 2023, the company had cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash totaling $88.1 million, which increased to approximately $210.8 million by the end of the first quarter of 2024. Total operating expenses for the fourth quarter of 2023 increased to $60.9 million, primarily due to higher depreciation and amortization expenses, stock-based compensation, and research and development costs.

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