MTN and Omnispace Announce Joint Development of Satellite-Based IoT and 5G Services in Africa

MTN and Omnispace join forces to explore utilizing satellite technology for expanding the reach of IoT and 5G services in remote areas across Africa. This collaboration aims to bridge the digital divide and offer new connectivity solutions.

Rashi Grover
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MTN and Omnispace join forces to explore utilizing satellite technology for expanding the reach of IoT and 5G services in remote areas across Africa. This collaboration aims to bridge the digital divide and offer new connectivity solutions.


Mobile network operator MTN and satellite communications company Omnispace announced a collaboration to explore the development of satellite-powered Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G services in Africa.

This partnership aims to leverage Omnispace's low-earth orbit satellite constellation to provide connectivity in remote areas where traditional terrestrial networks are limited.

MTN, established in 1994, offers a wide range of services to millions of customers across 19 countries, focusing on Africa. Their strategy revolves around creating a significant platform business, emphasizing connectivity and infrastructure, including mobile and fixed access networks.


Omnispace, headquartered in the Washington DC area, utilizes 5G technologies to provide unified connectivity through a global satellite network. Their recent launch of the Omnispace Spark-2 satellite aims to enable direct connectivity for various sectors worldwide.

The collaboration between MTN and Omnispace aims to utilize S-band spectrum for satellite services, expanding MTN's wireless offerings. Additionally, they plan to develop and enhance a range of devices and software to support their shared goals. Omnispace will develop a next-generation mobile and IoT network tailored for MTN markets, while also partnering to test existing technologies using Omnispace's satellites.

"We aim to methodically enhance the accessibility of our services through this partnership, acknowledging the crucial role connectivity plays in shaping societies and promoting growth."


Partnering with Omnispace represents a strategic move towards guaranteeing dependable and continuous access to our network," stated Mazen Mroué, MTN Group's Chief Technology and Information Officer.

Omnispace will create a next-generation mobile and IoT network, specifically designed for MTN markets, as part of the partnership. Leveraging S-band for satellite services, the collaboration will enhance MTN's wireless service offerings. Through pooling expertise and resources, Omnispace and MTN aim to deploy innovative solutions that go beyond conventional connectivity, delivering advanced services to meet changing market demands.



What is 5G NTN?

5G NTN, or 5G Non-Terrestrial Network, expands 5G cellular connectivity beyond traditional cell towers by utilizing satellites, primarily in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), and other non-ground-based platforms like high-altitude balloons or drones. It extends 5G connectivity to remote areas lacking terrestrial infrastructure and serves as a backup solution during natural disasters or network outages. Essentially, 5G NTN bridges the connectivity gap by overcoming the limitations of traditional cell towers, delivering high data rates and functionalities to remote or sparsely populated regions.

What is Satellite IoT (Internet of Things)?


Function: Facilitates communication between low-power devices using satellites.

Applications: Enables monitoring of environmental conditions, agricultural yields, and asset movement in remote locations. Also supports machine-to-machine communication for industrial equipment data exchange and automation.

Benefits: Extends connectivity to areas lacking terrestrial network coverage.


The collaboration between Omnispace and MTN is driven by several specific objectives:

Developing Affordable Global Connectivity Solutions: The partnership seeks to create cost-effective global connectivity solutions that extend beyond existing boundaries, addressing the demand for reliable and accessible communication services across various markets.

Deployment of Satellite IoT and 5G NTN Services: Omnispace and MTN are collaborating to develop and deploy Satellite IoT and 5G NTN services, utilizing the S-band for satellite services. This initiative aims to enrich MTN's wireless service portfolio in their respective markets.


Creation of a Next-Generation Standards-Based Mobile and IoT Network: Omnispace will develop a next-generation, standards-based mobile and IoT network tailored to serve MTN markets. This network is designed to offer secure, cost-effective, and widespread 5G mobile connectivity.

Expansion of Spectrum Portfolio: With authorization to utilize the S-band, Omnispace has expanded its spectrum portfolio, which will be utilized in collaboration with MTN to enhance wireless service offerings.

The collaboration between MTN and Omnispace targets enhancing connectivity in geographically isolated regions across MTN's 19 African markets. Potential applications include remote asset monitoring, where sensors in agricultural fields or environmental monitoring equipment can transmit data via satellite, and improving communication infrastructure by using satellite connectivity as a backup or supplement to existing terrestrial networks.

From a technical standpoint, the project will explore utilizing S-band frequencies for satellite communication, offering advantages such as wider coverage and better signal penetration compared to traditional higher-frequency satellite options. The collaboration will progress through stages of testing and evaluating the technology's feasibility and performance within the African context, followed by developing tailored solutions to meet specific regional needs and regulatory requirements.

Expanding connectivity in remote areas has the potential to facilitate economic development and social inclusion while enabling the deployment of new technologies and applications in underserved regions. However, the success of the initiative hinges on factors like the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the solution, as well as navigating regulatory approval processes in various African countries.

Overall, this partnership claims to have a potential stride towards bridging the digital divide in Africa. By harnessing satellite technology, MTN and Omnispace aspire to broaden connectivity options and contribute to the continent's development.