Vodafone and Amazon Collaborate to Initiate Project Kuiper for Enhanced Connectivity in Africa and Europe

Vodafone, a telecommunications company operating within Africa and Europe and Vodacom, an enterprise-focused ICT subsidiary of the Vodacom Group, in collaboration with Amazon, have announced their intention to utilise Project Kuiper’s high-bandwidth, low-latency satellite network to amplify the advantages of 4G/5G connectivity networks within remote and hard-to-reach regions globally.

Project  Kuiper, an initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of 3,236 satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will connect geographically dispersed cellular antennas to the companies’ core telecom networks. This significant development will ensure Vodafone and Vodacom extend their 4G/5G services to a broader range of locations without costly and time-consuming investments required to construct fibre-based or fixed wireless connections back to their core networks. 

Furthermore, the companies are also exploring additional enterprise-specific offerings to provide businesses with affordable and high-performance connectivity solutions. This includes services such as backup support for unforeseen events and expanding connectivity to remote locations.

According to Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, “Vodafone’s work with Project Kuiper will provide mobile connectivity to many of the estimated 40% of the global population without internet access, supporting remote communities, their schools and businesses, the emergency sector, and disaster relief. These connections will be enhanced through our work on direct-to-smartphone satellite services.”

“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,” commented Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president for devices and services. “Teaming up 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 will explore how to help our customers get the most value from expanded connectivity, particularly in areas like residential broadband, agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation, and financial services.”

Furthermore, Shameel Joosub, the Chief Executive of Vodacom Group, expressed his excitement about utilising Amazon’s satellite constellation. This will enable them to effectively reach a broader customer base across Africa, ensuring that individuals can access digital tools online, thus fostering inclusive growth.

Vodafone and Vodacom are expected to initiate Project Kuiper in Africa and Europe as soon as  Amazon’s satellite constellations become operational. Amazon is currently testing two prototype satellites, with plans to commence the deployment of production satellites in 2024. In addition, by  2024, Amazon will commence beta testing of Project Kuiper services with a selected group of customers. Vodafone and Vodacom intend to actively engage in this testing phase as part of their collaborative effort.