Japan’s Rakuten, Vodafone investment bring smartphone-to-satellite startup AST’s funding to $128 million

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — Japan’s Rakuten Mobile has purchased a 20% equity stake in startup AST & Science project to launch a fleet of cubesats to provide 4G cellular coverage to mobile phones worldwide, using the phones’ existing hardware.

The Rakuten investment, along with an investment by London-based Vodafone, brings AST’s total financing to $128 million, AST said.

Other investors include American Tower, Samsung NEXT and AST’s founder and chief executive, Abel Avellan.

AST . . .

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