Satellite-direct-to-phone telecoms company Lynk Global, whose global commercial service is poised to launch later this year, says it has signed multiple commercial contracts with a number of mobile operators covering seven island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean.
Of these, Lynk has so far made public two in Oceania: contracts with Telikom PNG in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and bmobile in the Solomon Islands.
Lynk says its satellites offer a constellation of cell towers in space that will enable PNG and Solomon Islands’ subscribers to stay connected across their nations’ vast terrain simply using their standard unmodified mobile phones.
PNG has a land mass spanning more than 460,000 kilometres and a population of nine million residents of which more than 80% are considered rural and have limited or no mobile phone connectivity with the current terrestrial cell tower infrastructure.
The Solomon Islands are spread over 1.6 million kilometres. Over 75% of residents of the Solomon Islands live outside urban areas.
Telikom PNG acting CEO Amos Tepi says: "Lynk's mobile phone connectivity – through mobile base stations-in-space via a network of satellites – is ideally suited to meet current and future demands of Papua New Guinea.”
With these agreements, Lynk said it eliminates much of the need to invest in land-based infrastructure and mobile towers for mobile connectivity throughout island nations. Lynk also provides an ‘everyone everywhere emergency’ (EEE) alert service, which notifies populations ahead of natural disasters, while offering instant backup after disasters hit.
Islands create many challenges for mobile connectivity, including hard-to-reach locations that drive up the cost of tower construction, exposure to a harsh maritime environment that constantly degrades towers, increasing maintenance costs, reducing reliability, and populations that are dispersed across large geographies.
Lynk says it has seen a clear acceleration of contract signings with island nations in response to the recent disaster in Tonga.