World Mobile, the first global mobile network built on blockchain, has announced a collaboration with Vodacom Mozambique

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The collaborative launch serves as a “test drive” of World Mobile’s connectivity solution, enabling users to make phone calls and use data using its pioneering aerostat technology

World Mobile Group, the first global mobile network powered by blockchain technology and the sharing economy, has announced an aerostat trial in Mozambique in collaboration with Vodacom Mozambique, a telecoms company committed to delivering a reliable mobile network and improved technology access. The trial works to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of aerostat technology in real-world scenarios, setting the stage for continued expansion and collaboration between World Mobile and Vodacom.

In 2022, Mozambique, classified as one of the UN’s least-developed countries, had a low internet user rate of 23 percent, a particularly striking figure considering nearly 62 percent of its population resides in rural areas. The diverse terrain, which includes coastal lowlands, high plateaus, and mountains, poses challenges for mobile infrastructure development in rural communities. Additionally, almost three-quarters of the unconnected population face barriers to accessing internet services and devices due to affordability issues, as reported by the World Bank.

In November 2023, World Mobile and Vodacom Mozambique began a joint trial to actively assess the efficacy and sustainability of aerostat technology in practice, which is set to run for a predetermined period. The partnership marks the start of “usage testing” of the aerostat. During this phase, individuals on the ground in Mozambique can connect to the aerostat as a cell tower in the sky, enabling them to make phone calls and use data from varying distances.

Vodacom Mozambique, operational since 2003, is actively exploring the potential of this technology as a connectivity solution. Once the usage testing proves successful, there are plans to potentially deploy multiple aerostats across Mozambique and expand to other regions. With a customer base exceeding 10 million users, the company plays a crucial role in exploring innovative solutions for internet access in underserved communities.

In October 2023, World Mobile launched its first African commercial telecoms aerostat near Massingir, Mozambique, to assess the technology’s viability. These tethered aerostats are positioned 300 meters in the air and use custom radio payloads for last-mile connectivity. Collecting crucial data, this approach supports the deployment of additional aerostats in Mozambique and globally, overcoming challenges in terrain, infrastructure, and cost to expand mobile networks in Africa, with a standard cellular radius of up to 130 kilometers.

“We are thrilled to unveil this venture in Mozambique, a country where rural connectivity is crucial for economic and social development,” says Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile. “Our aerostats could be the key to unlocking internet access for billions. This technology is not just cost-effective compared to legacy telecom infrastructure but also quick to deploy, making it ideal for remote regions. Vodacom’s involvement in this trial is a testament to their commitment to innovation and support in connecting the unconnected. They have been forward-thinking in their approach, recognizing the potential of new technologies to make a real difference.”

“We believe in the power of collaboration and innovation to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” affirms Simon Karikari, CEO of Vodacom Mozambique. “Our support for World Mobile’s aerostat trial underscores our dedication to exploring new avenues for connectivity. It’s about creating real change for people who need it the most.”

 

 

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