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Avanti, Vox Telecom in satellite broadband partnership

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A deal between Avanti Communications Group and Vox Telecom is set bring cost-effective and reliable high-speed satellite broadband to SA’s rural areas, which are likely never to be served with terrestrial infrastructure due to the cost of deployment.

Avanti announced yesterday it has signed a three-year master distributor agreement with South African telco Vox Telecom. The deal enables Vox to use Avanti's HYLAS 4 and HYLAS 2 satellites, which provide full coverage across sub-Saharan Africa.

Avanti said it has invested over R2.1 billion (US$143 million) in local infrastructure and new offices in SA – in Bryanston, Johannesburg. The company added the local team will support Vox as it deploys new services to rural and under-serviced areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

Vox said it will also benefit from Avanti's HYLAS 4 backhaul services, which integrate seamlessly into mobile networks, enabling their Internet of things (IOT) services.

Neil Whitehead, Avanti sales director for Africa, said: "We're delighted to extend our partnership with Vox and support the delivery of affordable broadband across Africa, supporting our mission to help liberate the potential of communities and businesses wherever they are located."

Jacques Visser, head of Wireless at Vox, said Avanti shares the same vision and goals as Vox in terms of bringing connectivity to areas where it doesn't exist, and will assist Vox in deploying its strategy of taking satellite broadband to under-serviced areas.

“The local landing station for HYLAS 4 in South Africa opens new opportunities for Ka-band satellite in the SME markets, and we expect Ka-band to play a more prominent role in the SD-WAN space," said Visser.

Avanti’s satellite fleet

Avanti provides Ka-band satellite data communication services to a quarter of the world's population, across the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa, through its HYLAS satellite fleet and partners in 118 countries.

Satellite HYLAS 2 was launched in 2012 and operates on 24 fixed beams and one steerable beam.

Satellite HYLAS 4, which was launched in April 2018, operates with 64 fixed and four steerable beams from five Gateway Earth Stations and extends Avanti’s coverage to West and Central Africa for the first time.

Gateway Earth Stations, according to the company, ensures 99.8% availability, with dedicated gateways in SA that enable data to land in-country, providing better connection speeds than fibre.

Traffic landing in SA

Vanessa Tucker, channel manager at Avanti, said the company’s satellites are different from those of its competitors because they provide high data throughput for lower prices. “Smaller and therefore cheaper antennas are required for end-users. We have also invested in local Gateway Earth Stations, meaning our traffic will be landed in South Africa, something none of our Ka-band competitors have done,” she noted.

The satellites will provide a connectivity solution where LTE, fibre or alternative technologies are not available, she added.

“This will allow rural and remote areas to have the same opportunities as those living within areas of terrestrial infrastructure. Businesses will have the opportunity to trade online with people from around the world, especially farmers who are often very remote but have a great need to sell their produce worldwide,” said Tucker.

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