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AMN's Starlink cellular backhaul connectivity is live in Nigeria

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Africa Mobile Networks Group (AMN) announced that its first basestation in Nigeria to connect to SpaceX’s Starlink constellation is now live and using the LEO satellite network for backhaul connectivity.

The AMN basestation in Nigeria is the first one to go live after the company and SpaceX signed a commercial deal in July 2023 to use Starlink for remote basestation backhaul connectivity across Africa.

In a statement, AMN said Starlink's low-latency connectivity enables its multi-carrier RANs to sustainably provide 2G, 3G and 4G services in remote, rural areas of the West African country.

Furthermore, the company added that Starlink's low-latency connectivity also paves the way for 5G services, which AMN plans to launch before the end of 2024.

AMN's African journey

AMN began rolling out rural basestations in Nigeria in 2018, and the company now owns and operates 1,600 basestations across the country.

"Yebu was the first rural community to be connected using AMN's ubiquitous solar-powered base station," the company said in a statement.

"The village is located approximately 80km from Abuja but can take four hours to reach due to road conditions. Yebu is predominantly an agricultural community, with a market offering local farmers the opportunity to sell their goods," AMN continued.

AMN said Starlink's low-latency connectivity paves the way for 5G services, which AMN plans to launch before the end of 2024.   (Source: Image by on Freepik)
AMN said Starlink's low-latency connectivity paves the way for 5G services, which AMN plans to launch before the end of 2024.
(Source: Image by on Freepik)

Furthermore, since connecting the community in November 2018, AMN said it has processed more than 9 million voice minutes in Yebu, with significant growth in 2022 and 2023 following the BTS upgrade to AMN's own radio node (ARN).

The company builds, owns, operates and maintains mobile network infrastructure for African mobile network operators.

"AMN has deployed over 4,000 base stations across Africa and Latin America. Installation of new sites continues throughout 2024 in Nigeria, DRC, Cameroon, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Benin and Rwanda," the statement added.

"Furthermore, in February 2024, the company and satellite operator Intelsat announced that they are working to connect 500 sites in rural Madagascar.

Starlink's African operations

The announcement from AMN comes at a time when Starlink has been facing obstacles to expansion in some Southern African countries.

In February 2024, the company cut off hundreds of South African users over alleged trademark and copyright violations.

Despite guidelines by Starlink prohibiting unlicensed import and resale in countries where its service has not yet launched, resellers like Starsat Africa allow users to buy Starlink roaming packages available in licensed countries.

In December 2023, Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) warned against the operation of Starlink in the West African country.

In November 2023, The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) cautioned companies against importing and selling Starlink satellite Internet terminals in South Africa, calling the practice illegal and warning that fines could be imposed.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

In August 2023, Senegal banned the sale of Starlink kits and five people were arrested for this offense, facing up to five years in jail and a US$100,000 fine.

Even with expansion hardships, Starlink has made entry in several African countries including Benin, Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique as well as Zambia.

Related posts:

*Top image is of a Starlink satellite dish overlooking a mountain view (Source: Starlink's website.)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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