Global Markets

Starlink to connect millions of people in Africa

The low-Earth orbit satellite constellation Starlink, operated by SpaceX, will be used by Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) to link its mobile network’s base stations to high-speed, low-latency services, enabling it to reach even the most remote and rural communities in the world.

AMN is steadfast in its commitment to its goal of a fully connected society, where no community of size is without telecommunications services for the populace’s social, educational, and economic good. As a direct result of the AMN towers, telecommunications services are now available to more than 10 million people in close to 4,000 communities throughout 14 sub-Saharan African countries, demonstrating that AMN has made substantial progress towards realising its objective.

A single radio node put atop one of AMN’s inexpensive base stations can provide 2G (GSM), 3G (HSPA+), or 4G (LTE) services thanks to the company’s proprietary Radio Access Network (RAN) technology. The announcement makes that goal more attainable than ever and enables AMN to provide high-quality 3G and 4G services to rural regions as well as provide the rising demand for bandwidth and data volumes while still operating profitably.

Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency link, combined with AMN’s flexible RNA, allows us to deliver 3G and 4G – and later 5G – services to remote communities around the world. We are already making rapid progress in Nigeria – where we have over 1,000 operational base stations today – to connect more unconnected communities, and we are seeing a huge appetite for data services in many of these places. By collaborating with Starlink, we can support significant growth both in terms of the number of sites and services offered,” said Mike Darcy, CEO of AMN Group.

AMN’s ARN is a flexible multi-carrier and multi-technology (2G/3G/4G) radio node that can operate with up to 5 simultaneous carriers in 2G+3G or 2G+4G configuration. It can support up to 5,000 subscribers per node, or up to 15,000 subscribers on AMN’s 20m towers with 3 sectors. AMN manufactures RNA in the UK and has recently expanded its production line to manufacture approximately four thousand units per year.

Chad Gibbs, vice president of SpaceX for Starlink commercial operations, said, “We are pleased to partner with AMN on our shared vision of a completely connected world. “Today’s announcement that Starlink would be used for the backhaul by Africa’s first mobile network is a significant step towards providing high-speed connection to millions of people on the continent for the first time. particularly in remote and rural areas. In 2023, AMN wants to install Starlink terminals at several locations in Nigeria as part of a bigger initiative to link 700 more rural villages by the end of the year. AMN presently runs more than a thousand locations in Nigeria, and by the end of the second quarter of 2024, it hopes to have two thousand sites operating there.

Aside from the 10,000 base stations in Africa, AMN has just begun offering services in Latin America, and starting in 2024, it will do the same in Asia.

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