Vodafone and Project Kuiper, Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellite (LEO) communications venture, have unveiled a strategic partnership. In this collaboration, Vodafone and Vodacom intend to leverage Project Kuiper’s advanced network to expand 4G/5G coverage for their customers across Europe and Africa.
Utilizing Project Kuiper’s high-capacity, low-latency satellite network, Vodafone and Vodacom aim to bring the advantages of 4G/5G connectivity to regions that would otherwise be challenging and costly to serve using traditional fiber or microwave solutions.
Project Kuiper will establish connections between widely dispersed cellular antennas and the core telecom networks of these companies. This strategic move enables Vodafone and Vodacom to offer 4G/5G services in more locations, eliminating the need for extensive investments in fibre-based or fixed wireless links to the core networks.
As part of this partnership, Amazon plans to collaborate with Vodafone to deploy Project Kuiper’s high-speed broadband services to underserved and unserved communities worldwide.
Furthermore, the companies are exploring additional tailor-made solutions for enterprises, including comprehensive global connectivity options, such as backup services for unforeseen events and extending connectivity to remote infrastructure.
“At Vodacom, our purpose is to connect for a better future, and we work every day to bring more people in Africa online,” said Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group.
“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.”
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 starting to deploy production satellites in 2024.
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.
“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,” said Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president for devices and services.
“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. Together we’ll explore how we can help our customers get the most value from expanded connectivity, particularly in areas like residential broadband, agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation, and financial services.”