Satellite Broadband is a Key Component in Africa’s B2B Connectivity Mix. Now it’s a Step Closer.

Satellite Broadband is a Key Component in Africa’s B2B Connectivity Mix. Now it’s a Step Closer.
Twoobii offers ‘off grid business broadband connectivity ideal for the business in southern Africa

The recent media coverage of the regulatory approval for the launch of Starlink internet connectivity services (from Elon Musk’s SpaceX corporation) in Mozambique and Nigeria has once again focused attention on this exciting technology and prompted a reappraisal of satellite broadband’s role in the continent’s future connectivity mix.

These approvals mean that the Starlink service will go live in Nigeria in Q3 2022, and during the following quarter in Mozambique. These will be the only two African nations where end users can take advantage of this new service this year, as the in-service date for all other countries on the continent is still tentatively fixed for 2023. However, South African end users can already pre-order Starlink equipment online.

As a result of the confirmed arrival of Starlink in Africa, the continent will now have a global LEO service in addition to the existing range of regionally operated and supported satellite services. While Starlink’s technology appears promising, it remains to be seen to what extent the proposed “zero-touch” service delivery model is accepted by the market. Starlink’s approach will see end-users order equipment online and self-install the units once delivered. There is as yet no information on customised implementation or the SLA support levels typically required by business and enterprise user groups.

“The regulatory approval achieved by Starlink in these two countries is a positive development for our entire industry. This development will increase awareness, and demand for fast, reliable satellite business broadband in Africa,” commented Dawie de Wet, CEO of Q-KON, the company behind Twoobii. “Starlink will be a viable option for the consumer and professional end-user markets which only require standard broadband services, whereas we developed Twoobii as the first African Smart Satellite Service specifically designed to service the business and enterprise markets, where support and network integration are essential requirements,” he added.

For the Mozambique market the Twoobii Smart Satellite Service is supplied and supported by Internet Solutions / Dimension Data Mozambique, who provide an end-to-end service including supply, implementation, customer network integration and support.

“Twoobii’s advanced quality-of-service features support seamless integration with customer networks for voice, data and video, while its compatibility with solar power sources further underlines its remote location and sustainability credentials. Taken together, these factors make Twoobii a game-changer for businesses in Mozambique and elsewhere in Africa,” explained De Wet Hugo, Chief Commercial Officer for Internet Solutions / Dimension Data Mozambique.

While Starlink is the first LEO satellite service to obtain regulatory approval for services in Mozambique, it is far from being the only global low-earth orbit service, with other similar services expected to enter the market in the very near future. When faced with multiple options, end-users would be well-advised to select technology, service and solutions providers with a deep understanding of the African market and who are best placed to collaborate with local industry.

Internet Solutions / Dimension Data Mozambique, together with Q-KON, is already liaising with other global providers to build the ideal service bundle for the local Mozambique market. The Twoobii Smart Satellite Service solution architecture will ensure an optimum match with current and anticipated business requirements, including:

  • Local interconnectivity – Seamless interconnectivity with local and regional networks is required for local telephony services, as well as to maintain data locally and for seamless integration with customer networks;
  • Flexible billing – Business requirements are best met by flexible billing models as implemented by Twoobii and which can provide “on-demand pay-per-use” options. A global one-size fits all billing model is not ideal for some critical business applications; and
  • Network integration – To effectively service the business sector, satellite services must act as a seamless element in the enterprise network architecture and be compatible with applications such as SD-WAN.

The satellite industry is rapidly expanding and global services such as Starlink can potentially offer an attractive option for certain market sectors. At the same time, specialist service providers such as Internet Solutions / Dimension Data Mozambique are already experienced in delivering the Twoobii Smart Satellite Services to the market and will be ideally positioned to lead the growth in New Space LEO services.