Cell-tower-in-space provider Lynk Global today announced it signed its first two commercial agreements with Bahamas-based Aliv and Telecel Centrafrique in the Central African Republic. Lynk’s satellites will provide connectivity beyond the two company’s cell tower coverage areas – or anywhere else on the planet – using a standard unmodified mobile phone.
“Lynk is proud to announce the first two mobile network operators as a part of our Flagship partnership program,” said Charles Miller, Lynk co-founder and CEO. “This speaks to the visionary leadership of Aliv and Telecel Centrafrique, which recognize the powerful benefits of providing universal mobile broadband to their customers. We are honored to be selected by Aliv and Telecel as their satellite partners.”
Aliv and Telecel are Lynk’s “Flagship” partners and have acquired the first-to-market rights to implement Lynk service in their respective countries. More agreements are expected in the coming months as Lynk plans to launch its global commercial service next year.
Lynk is currently licensed by the FCC to build and launch 10 satellites into orbit and is currently working with regulatory agencies to launch over 5,100 satellites at a build rate of 200 satellites per month for providing uninterrupted worldwide service.
Aliv will leverage Lynk’s cell-tower-in-the-sky service to provide emergency communications backup when the island is hit by hurricanes and extending move coverage beyond cell tower line of sight to maritime users. Alive CTO Stephen Curran said the carrier is “very excited” with the testing it has been conducting and looks forward to rolling out the service to its users.
Lynk will provide Telecel with extended coverage beyond its existing cell tower network.
“By partnering with Lynk, Telecel aims to bridge the digital divide by extending its services to all the population, no matter where they are,” says Telecel Centrafique CEO Malek Atrissi. “This is in line with our vision to bring Connectivity to all Central Africans as telecommunication today has become a basic need- whether in Voice, Data, Fintech or any other VAS & Digital services… We know that it enhances the lives of our citizens to have access to mobile services and give them constant and continuous access.”
With more than 3 billion mobile phone users out of range of cell networks for extended periods of time and another 1 billion people who can afford a mobile phone but don’t buy one because there’s no cell network to connect to, Lynk would be filling a need that traditional mobile operators aren’t. The company also is positioning itself as providing “instantaneous” backup emergency communications everywhere on Earth, providing cellular services when infrastructure is disrupted by natural disasters.
Miller said the company continues to focus on delivering SMS text messaging as an initial service, with the potential to delivery voice and broadband services when the company moves up to its next generation of satellites. He anticipates Lynk launching its sixth and first production satellite in January 2020 and the seventh in April, with the rest of the initial 10 production satellites going into orbit by the end of 2022.