INTELSAT has announced a strategic investment in mobile base stations builder Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) in order to accelerate the growth of mobile connectivity in unserved communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
AMN provides African mobile operators with a network-as-a-service (NaaS) solution aimed at overcoming the challenges of expanding mobile connectivity in rural area of Africa. This includes the funding, building an operation of networks for the operators.
Central to AMN’s solution is a low-cost, small cell solution which is powered by solar-based systems. According to AMN, this solution can be deployed and installed in under six hours.
The agreement with Intelsat will see the satellite company support AMN’s connectivity through its Epic satellite range, along with 23 other Intelsat satellites covering the African continent. Sites installed by AMN will connect to the Intelsat fleet to the core of the mobile network operator and deliver 2G services. These can also be upgraded to 3G or even 4G, the companies said.
‘The high performance, redundancy and flexibility of Intelsat’s satellite fleet over Africa made them an ideal partner for us,’ said Michael Darcy, AMN’s chief executive officer.
‘Intelsat shares our view that mobile coverage is not spreading quickly enough and as such, invested in AMN’s vision of installing a cell site in every African village. Together, we can accelerate the deployment of mobile connectivity and work to ensure that communities, wherever they are located, have equal access to high quality, sustainable and affordable broadband connectivity.’
Intelsat did not disclose any further information about the nature of its investment, but it continues the company’s strategy of supporting connectivity solutions in harder-to-reach areas such as rural Africa.
Earlier this year, Intelsat announced that it has joined Smart Africa, a public-private platform which I looking to shape and drive Africa’s digital transformation.
Jean-Philippe Gillet, Intelsat’s vice president and general manager, broadband, said, ‘Bringing mobile connectivity to the most rural parts of Africa requires hybrid networks and innovative business models to truly close the business case.
‘By investing in and partnering with AMN, we can rapidly, and cost effectively expand an MNO’s reach and deliver critical connectivity to communities who many thought were impossible to connect. We look forward to our partnership with AMN and the ability to deliver a network that will support the social and economic development of communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa.’