Thuraya Telecommunications Company, a Dubai-based mobile satellite services operator, together with partner company, Airtel Africa, has announced the commercial launch of portable satellite broadband terminals and satellite phones across 12 countries in Africa.

In a demonstration of Africa’s technological fast-track, Thuraya’s IP+ satellite broadband devices provide up to 444 Kbps on a standard IP and 384kbps on a streaming IP – a potential lifeline of connectivity to businesses operating in even the deepest reaches of the continent.

Bilal El Hamoui, Thuraya’s commercial VP, said: “We recognise the importance of connecting Africa’s most remote regions by enabling MNOs like Airtel Africa to expand their coverage – allowing businesses and communities to thrive and grow.”

Andre Beyers, Airtel CMO, added: “This partnership brings convergence to the forefront of our business – ensuring Airtel Africa’s ability to deliver products that offer 100% coverage within the 17 markets we cover.”

The device comes with a working range of 150m and a cost per Megabyte of three cents.

Thuraya launched its orbital hardware, the Thuraya 2 satellite, in 2003 to cover Europe, the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa. The craft is in geosynchronous orbit with an expected life of 12 years.

Thuraya has also partnered with SOS Children’s Villages International through their Gulf office to bring satellite connectivity to remote communities in the Central African Republic, by donating Thuraya IP+ broadband terminals and sponsoring connectivity and airtime.

Under SOS Children’s Village’s scope of operations in the Central African Republic, there are approximately 2,000 IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) living in its villages, schools and other facilities, along with 2,600 orphaned and vulnerable child originally living in its care.

Nicole Nassar, SOS’ MD for the Gulf, commented: “We thank Thuraya for their donation as we nurture the children and families in these remote communities – Thuraya’s services will benefit our teams in providing vital care in education, development and community building.”

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El Hamoui added: “Despite the arrival of fibre to the Africa coasts, many Africans today remain without terrestrial connectivity in the remote communities they live in.

“We are proud to help the field workers of SOS Children’s Villages stay connected and contribute towards the development of a sustainable future in these remote communities.”

Commercially, Airtel and its subsidiary are present in: Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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