Vodafone strikes satellite connectivity deal with Amazon

Vodafone strikes satellite connectivity deal with Amazon

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, and 
Dave Limp, Amazon Senior Vice President of Devices and Services.
The customer terminal antennas featured are used to send 
and receive data to and from Project Kuiper satellites.

Vodafone and its African subsidiary Vodacom plan to use the service as part of Project Kuiper’s 2024 Beta testing of the network

Vodafone and Project Kuiper, Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellite (LEO) communications initiative, today announced a strategic collaboration through which Vodafone and Vodacom plan to use Project Kuiper’s network to extend the reach of 4G and 5G services to more of their customers in Europe and Africa.

Project Kuiper’s high-bandwidth, low-latency satellite network can bring the benefits of 4G and 5G connectivity to areas that may otherwise be challenging and prohibitively expensive to serve via traditional fibre or microwave solutions.

“Vodafone’s work with Project Kuiper will provide mobile connectivity to many of the estimated 40% of the global population without internet access, supporting remote communities, their schools and businesses, the emergency services, and disaster relief. These connections will be complemented further through our own work on direct-to-smartphone satellite services,” Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group’s CEO said.

Project Kuiper will connect geographically dispersed cellular antennas back to the companies’ core telecom networks. This means Vodafone and Vodacom will be able offer 4G/5G services in more locations without the time and expense of building out fibre-based or fixed wireless links back to the core networks.

The companies are also exploring additional enterprise-specific offerings to provide businesses with comprehensive global connectivity solutions, such as backup service for unexpected events and extending connectivity to remote infrastructure.

“Amazon is building Project Kuiper to provide fast, affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in unserved and underserved communities, and our flexible network means we can connect places that have traditionally been difficult to reach,” said Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president for devices and services.

Limp said that teaming with a leading international service provider like Vodafone allows the company to make a bigger impact faster in closing the digital divide in Europe and Africa.

Amazon hope the expanded connectivity that could be unlocked through the partnership will be able to boost digital services in agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation, and financial services.

“At Vodacom, our purpose is to connect for a better future, and we work every day to bring more people in Africa online,” said Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group.

“Collaborating with Project Kuiper gives us an exciting new path to scale our efforts, using Amazon’s satellite constellation to quickly reach more customers across the African continent.”

Vodafone, Vodacom and Project Kuiper will begin deploying services in Africa and Europe as Amazon’s production satellites come online. Amazon is preparing to test two prototype satellites in the coming months before starting to deploy production satellites in 2024.

Amazon expects to begin beta testing Project Kuiper services with select customers by the end of 2024, and Vodafone and Vodacom plan to participate in that testing through this collaboration.

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