Vodafone Group (LON:VOD) and Nokia plan to install a 4G network on the Moon next year, the London-listed telecoms company has said. The move is part of a project to back the first privately-funded moon landing, 50 years after the first NASA astronauts walked on the Moon’s surface.
Vodafone’s share price has slipped marginally into the red in today’s session, having given up 0.12 percent to 204.50p as of 14:51 GMT. The shares are marginally underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing at 7,281.97 points, flat in percentage terms.
Moon to get its first mobile network
Vodafone announced in a statement yesterday that its German unit had appointed Nokia as technology partner to develop space-grade network weighing less than a bag of sugar. The move comes with the FTSE 100 company planning to create the first 4G network on the Moon to support a mission by PTScientists in 2019.
Berlin-based PTScientists is working with Vodafone Germany and Audi to achieve the first privately-funded Moon landing. The mission is due to launch next year from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The blue-chip telco explained that the 4G network will enable the Audi lunar quattro rovers to communicate and transfer scientific data and HD video while they approach and study NASA’s Apollo 17 lunar roving vehicle used by the last astronauts to walk on the Moon.
One executive involved told Reuters that the decision to build a 4G network rather a state-of-the-art 5G network was taken because the next generation networks remained in the testing-and-trial stage and were not stable enough to ensure that they would work from the lunar surface.
Analysts on Vodafone
Berenberg Bank remains bullish on Vodafone, having reiterated its ‘buy’ stance on the company today, with a price target of 253p, while Credit Suisse continues to see the group as an ‘outperform,’ valuing the shares at 250p. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip telco currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 255.39p.