Vodacom has announced that it has signed a deal with Alphabet – Google’s parent company – to make use of its Loon service.
As you might be aware Loon is Alphabet’s project which aims to bring connectivity to areas which are under-served or not served at all.
This connectivity is made possible with the help of balloons which float 20km in the air.
With this solution in place, Vodacom hopes to expand mobile access in the Mozambican provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa. Coverage in these provinces has been tricky to muster in the past what with geographical challenges and a low population density meaning networks aren’t chomping at the bit to improve coverage.
Loon then is a seemingly perfect solution.
“We are pleased to be part of this initiative in Mozambique, which is helping to bridge the digital divide. This is even more pertinent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, where more Mozambicans will now have access to healthcare information through our Loon partnership,” said Vodacom Group chief executive officer, Shameel Joosub.
Vodacom is working with communication and aviation regulators in Mozambique including Autoridade Reguladora das Comunicações de Moçambique and the Institute for Civil Aviation of Mozambique in order to obtain the necessary approvals.
The network operator also said that in the coming months it would be working on the terrestrial infrastructure that will serve as the connection point for the Loon network.
“We’re extremely pleased to be partnering with Vodacom, one of Africa’s largest mobile network operators, to begin serving parts of Mozambique in the coming months. Vodacom has a big footprint in Southern Africa, and provides service to tens of millions of people across multiple countries every single day. We view this as the first step to a larger partnership that will allow us to serve more of those users throughout Africa,” chief executive officer at Loon, Alastair Westgarth, said in a statement.