South African mobile group Vodacom has signed a new multi-year agreement with Intelsat to secure capacity on the Intelsat satellite fleet for Vodacom Congo, which is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Vodacom will utilise capacity on Intelsat 906 at 64 degrees East and Intelsat 25 at 328.5 degrees East to support its deployment of cellular backhaul in the DRC. The deal’s main objective is to support Vodacom’s ongoing 3G deployment across the DRC, but it will also expand Intelsat-based cellular backhaul services in countries such as Tanzania and Mozambique. In addition, Vodacom utilises multiple satellites on the Intelsat fleet for international trunking, corporate networking, in-flight broadband and disaster recovery services across the continent.
In other news, last week Gilat Satcom launched a new very small aperture terminal (VSAT) service to provide south-east Africa with high-bandwidth internet connectivity. The new service is based on Gilat Satellite Networks’ SkyEdge 2 technology and operates over the Amos 5 Ku-beam covering from South Africa to the northern reaches of the DRC and aims to provide end users with download speeds of up to 2Mbps. Gilat Satcom vice president of sales (Africa) Alex Petropouliadis commented: ‘Traditionally, the Ku band suffered from service interruption in cases of severe weather conditions. Our service now automatically ensures 99.9% availability at the highest capacity under any weather condition’.