In Nigeria, Mobitel’s deployement of a customer-targeted 4G mobile network has achieved great success and expansion to other markets is considered. The same success was met in Cameroon for the installation of the 4G network and the commercial launch just took place at the beginning of this month in the metropolitan area of Douala.
Those projects confirmed the necessity of finding a viable solution to provide the whole African continent with direct internet access. Over 2010, much work was done to optimize 4G networks and migrate consumers from the fixed Wimax 802.16D network to the new mobile 802.16E solution, more able to interact with the latest 4G solutions.
In addition to these efforts, the “Yahsat Project” came to life as a solution for the whole African continent. The “Yahsat Project” consists of delivering two satellites that will provide customers with uninterrupted fibre-quality broadband allowing high-speed and low latency internet access. The broadband will englobe the whole African continent and its most important feature is that it will be accessible from any area without other means of connectivity because terrestrial service providers have not been able to reach it yet.
Yahsat’s Y1A, the first of the two satellites, was launched successfully on April 23rd 2011 and the second satellite, Y1B, is due to be launched during the second half of 2011 to complete the process. The broadband will be available and functioning from the moment the company goes live with Y1B’s arrival to it’s point of operation.
Providing Africa with valuable and efficient broadband penetration does not only facilitate telecommunications. It will also result in additional GDP growth (an additional 1.38 percent of GDP growth per 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, according to the World Bank) and provide Africa with a means to join the global digital market.