Source: Ephraim Modise/ Techcabal

Vodafone and Amazon are working on Project Kuiper satellite internet service, a competitor to Starlink in Africa.

Vodafone and Project Kuiper, Amazon’s Low Earth Orbit satellite (LEO) communications initiative, today, September 5, 2023, announced a collaboration to use Project Kuiper’s network to extend the reach of 4G/5G services to more of their customers in Europe and Africa.

Project Kuiper claims to 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.

Shameel Joosup, CEO of Vodacom Group said “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.”

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

The partnership comes at an interesting time when Starlink, a competitor to Project Kuiper, has been experiencing regulatory pushback, particularly in southern Africa. South Africa has banned the import, reselling and usage of the service, Zimbabwe has warned against the service, citing licensing while Botswana states that the service is yet to get the requisite licensing despite planning to launch in the country in Q3 2023.

Source: Ephraim Modise/ Techcabal