Uganda Telecom signs deal with AST mobile to boost nationwide internet connectivity

In efforts to boost internet connectivity in Uganda, Uganda Telecom signs deal with AST Mobile, the first space-based cellular broadband network directly accessible by mobile phones. UTL announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) collaboration with AST SpaceMobile, Inc on its social media handle via Twitter.

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The company that has had a turbulent past now seems to be getting a revival with its latest partnership. The collaboration will guarantee nationwide internet connectivity even in areas that are hard to reach and are cut off from internet access.

Uganda Telecom seeks to provide Ugandans with 100% coverage across the country using AST SpaceMobile‘s planned cellular broadband network as the main coverage provider.

The combined effort would explore opportunities to offer Uganda Telecom network users access to AST SpaceMobile’s planned network using their cell phones and other devices, any time, and anywhere within the country, including rural areas that do not currently have cellular broadband service.

AST SpaceMobile’s mission is to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by today’s five billion mobile subscribers moving in and out of coverage zones and bring cellular broadband to approximately half of the world’s population who remain unconnected.

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How does AST SpaceMobile’s system will work

This planned network provides a greater advantage over the traditional broadband network. With traditional broadband, ground cell towers provide service to cellphones within the radius of the area they cover. When a mobile phone leaves that jurisdiction, its call is seamlessly handed off to the next closest cell tower.

The SpaceMobile system will work in the same fashion but with much larger antennas that will operate from satellites in outer space. It will extend coverage and essentially eliminate dead zones where service is unavailable, like on a boat in the middle of the ocean or in a community where nearby cell towers have been destroyed due to a natural disaster.

This could potentially bring an end to the lack of access to internet connectivity for Ugandans living in hard to reach areas. As the pandemic rages on, there is more demand for the provision of services online such as education and health.

The collaboration between UTL and AST SpaceMobile will allow access to a better network despite where one is located. UTL technical consultant Otaremwa Otuhumurize said that this will bring universal access to broadband services for every Ugandan for basic e-services,- e-health, e-education, e-commerce.

To date, AST SpaceMobile has entered into agreements and understandings with mobile network operators which collectively cover approximately 1.4 billion mobile subscribers.

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