In the not-so-distant future, the moon will have 4G coverage.
Before you get upset that a big rock in space with a population of zero will have better service than parts of your daily commute, there is a reasonable explanation behind this. Vodafone and Nokia are teaming up to boost the communication capabilities of a future mission to the moon from private Berlin company PTScientists.
In 2019, PTScientists plan to land two unmanned Audi lunar Quattro rovers on the moon, so they can visit the Apollo 17 rover that astronauts used on the surface in 1972. Vodafone and Nokia's 4G network will connect the rovers to a base station, which will allow PTScientists to send high-definition video to Earth. This will also enable the "first live-streaming of HD video from the Moon's surface to a global audience."
Nokia Bell Labs plan to build the lightest ever space-grade Ultra Compact Network—weighing only a kilogram.
Explaining why 4G is a better communication option than traditional analog radio, CEO and Founder of PTScientists, Robert Böhme, explains in a press release, "The great thing about this LTE solution is that it saves so much power, and the less energy we use sending data, the more we have to do science."
Böhme is also excited about what this means for future missions. "This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system," he says. "In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet."
Vodaphone's CEO Dr. Hannes Ametsreiter adds, "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."
Between this and Elon Musk's ambitious plan to bring high-speed internet to the entire world, it sounds like you might have to travel deep into the solar system before you lose coverage in the near future.