A partnership between Amazon’s Project Kuiper and Vodafone seeks to expand the availability of 4G and 5G services in Europe and Africa by harnessing low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. These satellites are an ideal solution for regions where traditional fibre or microwave means prove excessively costly or complex.

Project Kuiper’s abilities are key to this process, as they enable the connection of distant cellular antennas back to the telecom’s core networks. As a result, Vodafone anticipates offering 4G and 5G services without the necessity of elaborate fibre-based or fixed wireless links.

Additional ventures are under consideration, such as backup services for unforeseen disruptions and extending connections to distant infrastructure. Vodafone Group Chief Executive, Margherita Della Valle declared: “Vodafone’s work with Project Kuiper will provide mobile connectivity to many of the estimated 40% of the global population without internet access, supporting remote communities, their schools, and businesses…These connections will be complemented further through our own work on direct-to-smartphone satellite services.”

Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president for devices and services added: “Amazon is building Project Kuiper to provide fast, affordable broadband…Teaming with a leading international service provider like Vodafone allows us to make a bigger impact faster in closing the digital divide in Europe and Africa.”

This development was made possible following the approval of the Federal Communications Commission for Amazon to launch broadband satellites, despite perceived opposition from competitor Space X. The service is due to commence once Amazon’s production satellites are operational. Subsequent to the launch of two prototype satellites, Amazon plans on beta testing Project Kuiper services with selected customers by the closing of 2024. This timeline includes their collaboration with Vodafone.