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Many countries embarking on telecom development with a view to improve connectivity are considering satellite uses. Satellites will be highly beneficial to improve ICT capabilities, usher in economic growth, boost connectivity and market/country competitiveness, leverage technology transfer benefit, and develop the overall ecosystem that will spread to other industries.

In a recent SES Q&A session on ‘Driving business and economic development in Africa through satellite connectivity’, Daniel Schapiro, SES Networks Sales Director Africa and Claude Rousseau, Research Director at Northern Sky Research (NSR) gave more insightful details around what satellites can do to Africa and around their latest O3b mPOWER system, SES’s NGSO constellation launching in 2021.

According to Schapiro, “the new constellation O3b mPOWER is much more powerful in regards to the capacity it can provide and it is also much more flexible in regards to the beams or the coverage that it can provide.”

Mark Beiberich, Head of portfolio and segment marketing team at SES, introduced O3b mPOWER, the second generation satellite-enabled communcations system.

Beiberich explained that mPOWER offers higher throughput per user that is scaled to multiple gigabits/second compared to the first generation system which offered hundreds of megabits/second in throughput and the existing GEO and LEO services on the market today. So, it can deliver services to thousands of endpoints, and customers can achieve cloud scale connectivity with their services.

O3b mPOWER is located on the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and the reason of that is to answer the requirements and demands of customers: scale to multiple GBPS, flexible bandwidth allocation, and support cloud-based operations.

Telecom Review Africa participated in this session and addressed Schapiro with a question on the kind of challenges that were encountered after the deployment of the first generation O3b system and how were they handled with the new generation? Schapiro explained that there were some commercial limitations such as positioning beams in very remote areas where bandwidth demand was very low. Today, mPOWER beams are going to be very small and their size can be adjusted, and the bandwidth per beam is variable. That way, they can provide a much more tailored service to their customers and extend their reach significantly.

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