OneWeb, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, is making significant strides in expanding its satellite reach across Africa. The company has recently announced its plans to launch its services in South Africa, marking a significant milestone in its mission to provide universal broadband access.
OneWeb has partnered with Airtel Africa to trial their service in South Africa. The trials began in September 2021, with plans to achieve full coverage across Airtel Africa’s footprint by 2023. This footprint comprises 35 countries in East, Central, South, and West Africa.
OneWeb and iSAT Africa LTD, an integrated communications services provider, also recently announced today that they had signed a Distribution Partnership Agreement.
OneWeb’s first SNP gateway in Africa is located in Hartebeesthoek, South Africa, and is nearing completion. Other gateways in Senegal and Mauritius are currently under development. These gateways will play a crucial role in providing high-speed, low-latency broadband to connect even the most rural or remote communities across several African countries, including South Africa.
OneWeb vs. SpaceX
OneWeb’s launch in South Africa has given it a competitive edge over SpaceX’s Starlink. While both companies offer Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite services, OneWeb’s services are currently sold exclusively to enterprises, businesses, and governments. This focus on business customers could make OneWeb a more attractive option for sectors operating in remote parts of the country, such as retail healthcare, government, mining, agriculture, tourism, and hospitality.
OneWeb’s launch in South Africa signifies a new era of connectivity in Africa. With its low latency and high-speed broadband, OneWeb has the potential to transform digital access, especially in rural and remote communities. As OneWeb continues to expand its services across Africa, it brings us one step closer to achieving universal broadband access.