(Ecofin Agency) - Vodafone, in partnership with AST SpaceMobile, the only company to have built the world's first broadband cellular network in space, announces the launch of the first phase of its space-based mobile communications service in Africa in 2023.
The British telecoms group unveiled on Wednesday 16 December that this technology will allow people to access communications directly, regardless of where they live on the continent, without the need for a specific telephone or satellite antenna.
During this first phase, AST SpaceMobile will use 20 satellites to offer seamless and low-latency mobile connectivity to about 1.6 billion people; while Vodafone will integrate the new service into its brands such as Vodacom in DR Congo, Tanzania, and Mozambique, and Safaricom in Kenya as well as Vodafone in Ghana.
Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, explained that “Providing affordable mobile coverage for everyone requires a blend of technologies and infrastructure, from traditional masts to small cells, balloons, and satellites at the edge of space.”
“While we have been adding deep rural network sites to connect remote communities without any coverage, the lack of power in some areas creates insurmountable obstacles. AST SpaceMobile will ensure that remote communities in many sub-Saharan African countries can have access to the latest digital services,” he added.