- World Mobile launches its first commercial telecoms aerostat.
WORLD Mobile Group, the first global mobile network powered by blockchain technology and the sharing economy, successfully launched on Monday its first aerostat in Mozambique, expanding mobile connectivity to the southeast African country.
Gregory Gottlieb, head of Aerial Platforms, told the press on Monday that “Aerostat is here to connect the unconnected in the rural area. It will offer a booming signal to a good variety of operators in Mozambique and will cover a 72 km radius outside urban areas”.
Mozambique’s internet user rate stood at a mere 23 percent of the total 30 million population, an unsurprising but still shocking figure given that almost 70 percent of its populace live in rural areas.
As with many developing nations, a large proportion of infrastructure is concentrated in urban areas, while a lack of electricity in rural areas means limited power to support internet access.
This lack of connectivity has a significant impact on access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. Meanwhile, almost three-quarters of the unconnected population cannot afford internet services or internet-connected devices such as smartphones and computers, according to the World Bank.
With its launch in Mozambique, World Mobile continues to address this discrepancy by building a mobile network that is accessible, affordable, and sustainable.
The launch took place near the rural village of Massingir, in the southern province of Gaza, commencing several weeks of flight operations, enabling the company to gather data sets through the utilization of custom radio payloads.
This data will form the basis to deploy additional commercial aerostats across Mozambique, Africa, and other under-connected regions around the world.
According to the GSMA, globally there are 3.6 billion people (almost half the world’s population) who do not use mobile internet. This includes the ‘connectivity gap,’ which is about 400 million people who are not covered by mobile networks at all. Of the 5% of the world’s population who aren’t covered by mobile internet, half live and work in Sub-Saharan Africa.
World Mobile aerostats are deployed roughly 300 meters into the air and tethered to the ground, providing last-mile connectivity using a custom radio payload. This means that customers can directly connect to the payload using internet-connected devices akin to a traditional cell tower.
The aerostats offer standard cellular connectivity covering a radius of up to 130 kilometers, overcoming the challenges of terrain, infrastructure, and cost that often hinder the expansion of mobile networks.
Unlike traditional mobile networks, it is built on the blockchain, enabling it to offer unmatched transparency, efficiency, and security in comparison to legacy mobile network operators. Moreover, World Mobile’s implementation of blockchain technology facilitates a distributed sharing economy that taps into the trillion-dollar global telecom market.
Individuals and business owners around the world can operate nodes on its network and bring their communities online while earning revenue.
“We are delighted to announce the launch of our first commercial aerostat in Mozambique, a landmark achievement for World Mobile, for Africa and the rest of the world,” says Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile.
“Our vision is to connect everyone, everywhere while advocating for economic freedom and dignity. With our aerostats, we can profitably bring internet access to millions of people who have been left behind by the digital divide.”
“The aerostat launch is a testament to the extraordinary efforts and dedication of our team, who have been working tirelessly to make this project a reality,” says Gregory Gottlieb.
“We are excited to gather our data sets in preparation for the next phase of our deployment. Our aerostats are designed to be scalable, reliable, and adaptable to different environments and use cases. We believe they have the potential to transform the telecoms industry in Africa and beyond.”
Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer at the GSMA, said “this is a great initiative by World Mobile and we’re delighted to be supporting it, through our GSMA Foundry innovation accelerator. Of the 5% of the world’s population not yet covered by mobile internet, half live and work in Sub-Saharan Africa, in rural villages like Massingir. It’ll be through more industry collaboration and innovative new technologies, like those launched by World Mobile, that we’ll be able to close the digital divide and help improve the lives of millions more people through connectivity.”