SA satellite to ‘reduce cost to communicate’

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 09 May 2023
Tebogo Leshope, COO of Sentech.
Tebogo Leshope, COO of Sentech.

Signal distributor Sentech says plans are afoot to build a South African-based satellite.

This was revealed by COO Tebogo Leshope, speaking on day two of the Africa Tech Week conference, in Cape Town, last week.

According to Leshope, the satellite will be used to address the country’s media and broadband objectives. “We need to relook how we build and adopt technology as Africans. At Sentech, we are working on building a South African-based satellite to enhance the country’s technology sovereignty and self-reliance, and reduce the cost to communicate.”

Leshope told the audience that adopting solutions and technology from somewhere else does not always work for Africa.

“We need to research and develop technologies for our own environment. I strongly believe that if we apply ourselves adequately and bring technology foresights to the equation of our challenges, we can achieve a lot as a continent.”

South Africa’s broadband connectivity ambitions through satellite were previously alluded to by former communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Presenting last year’s Department of Communications and Digital Technologies budget vote, former department minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirmed the country would move ahead with the launch of its own communications satellite.

Ntshavheni didn’t elaborate on the details at the time, but stated: “This will reduce satellite capacity leasing costs, not only for government but other industries reliant on communication satellite technology for their businesses, and improve information security for our country.”

Latest reports state Sentech is looking to bring in private investors to build the multibillion-rand satellite project. There has been no word yet on when the project will commence.