Advanced Television

SoftBank wraps 5G test of HAPS over Rwanda

October 23, 2023

By Chris Forrester

A High-Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) – a very high-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft – has wrapped a demo stratosphere flight delivering 5G connectivity over Rwanda. The exercise was backed by Japanese media conglomerate SoftBank.

The aircraft delivered two-way 5G connections for 73 minutes from a height of almost 17 kms. The test included a ZOoom video call from a smartphone at the test site in Rwanda and the SoftBank team members back in Japan.

SoftBank and the Government of Rwanda are studying potential HAPS usage and commercial implementation in Rwanda, and other regions of Africa. Potential usage is seen as being the digitalisation of schools and communities in rural communities without Internet connectivity.

“I am thrilled that our 5G payload performed in the stratosphere far beyond our expectations. This test marks an important step forward in our aim of bridging the digital divide with HAPS and other NTN solutions. We are grateful to the Government of Rwanda for their unwavering support and look forward to working with them to study use cases for commercial implementation,” said Junichi Miyakawa, President & CEO of SoftBank said.

Rwanda is also working with satellite entrepreneur Greg Wyler on a massive deployment of 400,000 small satellites to girdle the Earth. Wyler’s team at E-Space has filed technical applications with the ITU, using France as well as Rwanda as the registration nations.

Categories: 5G, Articles

Tags: , , ,