Vodafone to use Amazon’s LEO satellite network to extend 4G/5G

Vodafone to use Amazon’s LEO satellite network to extend 4G/5G Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (@gadgetry@techhub.social)

Vodafone and Amazon’s ambitious Project Kuiper have unveiled a strategic partnership to expand the accessibility of 4G and 5G services.

The venture will leverage Project Kuiper’s cutting-edge low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network and promises to deliver connectivity in regions that have long been deemed logistically challenging and economically prohibitive for traditional communication infrastructure.

Dave Limp, Amazon’s SVP for devices and services, expressed the company’s mission to bridge the digital divide:

 “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.”

Project Kuiper’s high-bandwidth, low-latency satellite network will serve as the conduit through which Vodafone and Vodacom – a subsidiary of Vodafone – can deliver the transformative potential of 4G and 5G connectivity to underserved communities.

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, underscored the profound impact of this collaboration:

“Vodafone’s work with Project Kuiper will provide mobile connectivity to many of the estimated 40 percent 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.”

Remote communities are often left without the benefits of modern telecommunications due to the impracticality of installing traditional fibre optic or microwave solutions. By connecting cellular antennas scattered across diverse geographies to their core telecom networks, Vodafone and Vodacom aim to overcome this obstacle and unlock the doors to enhanced connectivity.

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, commented:

“At Vodacom, our purpose is to connect for a better future, and we work every day to bring more people in Africa online.

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.”

Potential applications span not just residential broadband, but also healthcare, education, agriculture, transportation, financial services, and more.

The implementation of these services is contingent on the activation of Amazon’s production satellites, slated to begin in 2024. The company is currently in the testing phase, with two prototype satellites scheduled for trials in the near future.

By the end of 2024, Amazon aims to initiate beta testing of Project Kuiper services, with Vodafone and Vodacom actively participating in this endeavour through their strategic alliance.

(Image Credit: Vodafone)

See also: Vodafone and Ericsson trial 5G network slicing for mobile gaming

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