OneWeb Partners with Airtel Africa to Provide Satellite Internet Connectivity across Africa

OneWeb Partners with Airtel Africa to Provide Satellite Internet Connectivity across Africa

OneWeb, a London-based communications solutions provider, has entered into a distribution agreement with Airtel Africa to provide satellite internet connectivity across the continent. It has appointed Airtel Africa to assist it in selling its services across the continent.

The partnership will concentrate on delivering satellite communications services to enterprise and civil government customers for a variety of use cases, including connectivity in rural areas, agriculture, hospitals, hotels, schools, and the energy and mining sectors. OneWeb and Airtel Africa will also provide critical backhaul in unserved and underserved areas, according to a joint statement.

OneWeb’s attraction to Africa has increased in recent times, and this is just one of several initiatives the company plans to launch on the continent. Satellite Network Portals (SNP) have already been installed in Angola, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, and Mauritius. With additional launches planned shortly, OneWeb remains on track to activate its coverage solutions in Africa and other parts of the world by 2023.

What OneWeb and Airtel Africa are saying

Speaking on the partnership, Ben Griffin, VP of Mobility and AMEA at OneWeb said “At OneWeb, we believe that connection everywhere changes everything so we are excited to be working with Airtel Africa to enhance OneWeb’s connectivity solutions across the African continent. This is a strategic fit. We look forward to delivering high-performance service across Africa, even in the hardest-to-reach places.”

While Luc Serviant, Group Enterprise Director, Airtel Business at Airtel Africa, on his part said “Internet penetration is rising across Africa and systems are even more connected as the digital transformation is driving growth amongst organizations. Through our partnership with OneWeb, we will support SMEs, entrepreneurs, corporates, and governments to do business everywhere in Africa, with low latency and highly resilient communication services. OneWeb and Airtel Africa will begin trialing service in South Africa in September, with plans to achieve full coverage in 2023 across Airtel Africa’s footprint, comprising 14 countries in East, Central, and West Africa.”

Satellites transmit signals through space, as opposed to cable internet, which is delivered via underground coaxial cable. This makes it ideal for remote villages or underdeveloped areas where it is difficult to physically deliver underground cables.

Several companies, including Elon Musk’s Starlink, are looking into ways to deliver satellite internet around the world as a replacement for existing mediums.

OneWeb’s investment comes at a time when the continent is focusing on digital growth, and the internet is expected to play an important role in that development.