Vodafone Group teamed with Amazon’s broadband satellite service Project Kuiper to extend connectivity in Europe and Africa, part of a mission to bring 4G and 5G services to underserved communities.
In a joint statement, Vodafone and its South Africa-based subsidiary Vodacom Group explained it will use Project Kuiper’s low Earth orbit satellite technology to expand network coverage to hard-to-reach areas.
The project will take effect as Amazon’s satellites come online in 2024 and the operator groups will be taking part in the trial of the technology through the collaboration.
Vodafone Group CEO Margherita Della Valle said the deal will enable it to provide mobile connectivity to “many of the estimated 40 per cent of the global population without internet access”, while supporting remote communities, schools, businesses, emergency services and disaster relief through digital services.
The operator plans to strengthen the partnership through its own work on direct-to-smartphone satellite services. Vodafone is notably a financial backer of AST SpaceMobile.
Further, Vodafone and Project Kuiper pointed to offering services for enterprises, including providing backup connectivity during unexpected events or extending its network to remote infrastructures.
Amazon’s SVP for devices and services Dave Limp said “teaming with a leading international service provider like Vodafone allows us to make a bigger impact faster in closing the digital divide in Europe and Africa”.
Limp added the companies aim to benefit customers by boosting connectivity for residential broadband, agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation, and financial services.
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