Telkom Kenya, Google's Loon to Commercially Deploy Balloon-powered 4G LTE in 2019

Telkom Kenya, Google's Loon to Commercially Deploy Balloon-powered 4G LTE in 2019 Image Credit: Loon

Telkom Kenya has partnered with Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google's parent company) to pilot an innovative new 4G/LTE access network service in Kenya.

The two companies will also work closely together over the coming months to prepare for the deployment of the service, which is expected in 2019. This will be Loon’s first commercial service in Africa. 

The Loon service is an innovative approach to providing extended 4G/LTE coverage to rural and suburban areas with lower population densities, using high altitude balloons operating 20 kilometres (60,000 feet) above sea level, well above air traffic, wildlife, and weather events. The balloons act as floating cell towers, transmitting a provider’s service - in this case Telkom’s service - directly to a subscriber’s existing 4G/LTE phone below. Loon’s equipment is powered by on-board solar panels.

Aldo Mareuse, CEO, Telkom Kenya
With this association with Loon, we will be partnering with a pioneer in the use of high altitude balloons to provide LTE coverage across larger areas in Kenya. We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon’s balloon-powered Internet in Africa.

Alastair Westgarth, CEO, Loon
We are extremely excited to partner with Telkom for our first engagement in Africa. Their innovative approach to serving their customers makes this collaboration an excellent fit. Loon’s mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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