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Technology

SoftBank sets eye on airborne telecom base stations

Amazon and Tesla join the fray for future mobile communication infrastructure

HAPSMobile is aiming to provide global mobile communication services by sending its unmanned Sunglider to the stratosphere. (Source photo courtesy of the company)

TOKYO -- Japanese telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank is working toward the commercialization of "airborne base stations" with the possibility of conducting test flights in Japan as early as in 2021. Unmanned aircraft serving as base stations will fly in the stratosphere at altitudes of 20 km to provide global mobile communication services.

SoftBank subsidiary HAPSMobile has been working to achieve commercialization by fiscal 2023 and is promoting of the technology.

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