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Vodafone usurps MWC's 5G talk with mission to install 4G – on the moon


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

February 27, 2018 | 3 min read

Vodafone is looking to install the moon’s first 4G network, a move that serves as a stunt and an apparent prediction that there will be future activity on the rocky satellite.

Mission to the Moon

Vodafone, Mission to the Moon

Weeks after Elon Musk stole headlines by shooting a Tesla Roadster into orbit aboard a SpaceX rocket, Vodafone Germany and Nokia are working together to deliver 4G tech fit for space.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Nasa’s famous moonwalk, the groups, supported by scientists, will launch the ‘Mission to the Moon’ in 2019, from Florida's Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The network will be used to connect Audi lunar quattro rovers on the moon to transfer data and HD video near Nasa's Apollo 17 landing site. The company said it will be able to send live footage of the moon back to Earth, a strong advert for its 4G and an effective piece of content.

Dr Hannes Ametsreiter, chief executive of Vodafone Germany, said: “This project involves a radically innovative approach to the development of mobile network infrastructure. It is also a great example of an independent, multi-skilled team achieving an objective of immense significance through their courage, pioneering spirit and inventiveness.”

Marcus Weldon, chief technology officer of Nokia and president of Bell Labs, added: “We are very pleased to have been selected by Vodafone to be their technology partner. This important mission is supporting, among other things, the development of new space-grade technologies for future data networking, processing and storage, and will help advance the communications infrastructure required for academics, industry and educational institutions in conducting lunar research."

This month’s issue of The Drum magazine focuses on the mobile sector with insights on the democratisation of photography and interview with US recording artist Ryan Leslie who shared his personal mobile number with the world to help his fan engagement and a look at the longevity of the low-cost smartphone market in China and India. Buy your copy of this issue and other copies through The Drum website.

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