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MTN, Omnispace tie-up to deploy satellite services

By , Africa editor
Africa , 13 Mar 2024
Last year, MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita acknowledged the telco's keen interest in space technologies on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Last year, MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita acknowledged the telco's keen interest in space technologies on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Omnispace, based in the United States, has teamed with MTN Group to explore the usage of S-band satellite services in order to broaden Africa's largest mobile operator's wireless service portfolio in its markets.

MTN Group offers mobile, data, finance, digital, enterprise, wholesale, and API services to over 290 million subscribers across 19 markets

According to a statement issued yesterday, this effort demonstrates Omnispace and MTN's shared commitment to create cost-effective global connectivity options beyond traditional cellular and land-based networks.

The partnership will see the two companies explore the integration of MTN's terrestrial mobile networks with the Omnispace non-terrestrial (NTN) network, leveraging 3GPP standards, to serve consumer mobile and enterprise IoT services.

Omnispace will create a next-generation standards-based mobile and IoT network for MTN markets.

In the meanwhile, the firms will collaborate to test current technologies, demonstrate capabilities, and explore use cases for Omnispace's on-orbit satellites.

Furthermore, the companies will discuss how they may work together to establish and grow a device and software ecosystem.

MTN's satellite move comes about a year after the company revealed it was looking into space technologies to deliver uninterrupted and excellent connectivity to its markets.

Last year, Ralph Mupita, MTN Group CEO, expressed the telco’s keen interest in space technologies  on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, saying: “we are watching very closely as MTN. Its early days, but I think the future of telecoms is always on the network, leveraging the assets, subsea, terrestrial and space.

“I think the next four to five years will be interesting to see how the interaction of subsea cables, terrestrial networks, space and low earth orbit satellites sit together, and are arranged to give people a completely uninterrupted experience.”

Yesterday, Ram Viswanathan, CEO of Omnispace, said: "This collaborative effort would offer access to secure, cost-effective, ubiquitous 5G mobile connectivity by seamlessly integrating our respective satellite and terrestrial networks."

He expressed his desire to together with MTN to deliver the “first-of-its-kind, 3GPP standards-based solution to add non-terrestrial network connectivity to a large ecosystem of compatible devices, products and applications."

Mazen Mroué, MTN Group chief technology and information officer, commented: "Through this collaboration, we aim to methodically extend the reach of our services, understanding the profound role connectivity plays in shaping societies and supporting growth.

“Our partnership with Omnispace is a strategic step towards ensuring consistent, reliable access to our network, contributing to the foundational infrastructure that supports a digitally inclusive future, enabling the benefits of a modern connected life for all."

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