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OneWeb expands in Africa and Middle East

UK satellite player OneWeb has announced collaborations with Airtel Africa and Azyan Telecom.

On day one of the AfricaCom trade show in Cape Town, UK based LEO satellite company OneWeb announced it has appointed Airtel Africa as a provider of its satellite internet connectivity services to government and enterprise customers across the African continent. Those services may indirectly end up benefitting consumers via wholesale services and backhaul.

“This is a strategic fit, given our shared commitment to resiliency and excellence in communications services and the partnership represents another exciting milestone on our path to delivering global connectivity,” said Ben Griffin, VP Mobility and AMEA at OneWeb. “We look forward to delivering high-performance service across Africa, even in the hardest to reach places.”

“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,” said Luc Serviant, Group Enterprise Director, Airtel Business at Airtel Africa. “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.”

Meanwhile, OneWeb has also signed a deal with Oman-based satellite services provider Azyan Telecom to provide similar stuff to the Sultanate. You would generally expect satellite services to be mainly sold to larger organisations who may then offer connectivity further down the food chain. It seems Oman may become a regional hub for OneWeb.

“Our partnership will help to bring affordable connectivity to the widest possible audience in the region, particularly given the challenging conditions that have left many without high-speed connection,” said Laith Hamad, Chief Executive Officer, OneWeb NEOM JV. “This is another great milestone towards enabling connectivity through OneWeb LEO satellite technologies enabled by the OneWeb Tonomus JV in the region. We convey our sincere appreciation to the Omani Telecommunication Regulatory Authority for all their support.”

“What that means is that more people will be able to access the internet as well as many other digital services in a better, more convenient, more accessible manner wherever they may be,” said Ahmed Saber, Chief Operation Officer, Azyan Telecom. “What is even more exciting is that this joint partnership follows and is in alignment with Oman’s Digital Transformations Strategy.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority for their continued support, and guidance as we believe that it is only with their help that we are able to see this agreement between Azyan Telecom and OneWeb come to light.”

It’s not often you see regulators get such effusive praise, which maybe says something about the power of the state in Oman. In an intensely competitive LEO satellite sector, OneWeb seems to be doing a good job of collaborating with regional stakeholders to expand its footprint. The main LEO opportunity clearly lies in underdeveloped and/or geographically challenging countries, so these moves make sense.

 

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