Ibadan, 6 September, 2023. – Vodafone and Project Kuiper, Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellite (LEO) communications initiative, have announced a collaboration through which Vodafone and Vodacom plan to use Project Kuiper’s network to extend the reach of 4G/5G services to more of their customers in Europe and Africa. In addition, Vodafone and Vodacom plan 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 fiber or microwave solutions.
Project Kuiper will connect geographically dispersed cellular antennas back to the companies’ core telecom networks. This means the company will be able to offer 4G/5G services in more locations without the time and expense of building out fiber-based or fixed wireless links back to the core networks. Furthermore, Amazon plans to partner with Vodafone to roll out Project Kuiper’s high-speed broadband services to unserved and underserved communities around the world.
Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, said: “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.”
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 deploying production satellites in 2024. The company 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.