Seacom launches itself into the LEO market in South Africa

Seacom launches itself into the LEO market in South Africa

Submarine cable network operator and managed connectivity service provider Seacom has launched a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite service for its enterprise clients in South Africa.

The company has described this launch as an “evolutionary” shift in connectivity in South Africa that complements existing terrestrial broadband infrastructure and technologies and comes after a two-year process of consultation with industry partners.

It’s also a new venture for Seacom, best known to many people as the company that launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the continent’s Eastern and Southern coasts in 2009.

Now, however, Seacom’s enterprise clients can integrate LEO satellite connectivity into their network infrastructure and business continuity strategies.

Data that is routed through the satellite is beamed to teleport facilities placed in geographically strategic locations, from which it is then routed to various network centres and endpoints. Seacom is using Eutelsat OneWeb to provide the LEO service in South Africa.

There’s another bonus to this service. Satellite connectivity is not as dependent on local base stations or nodes as fixed-line or cellular broadband. LEO services can therefore keep going when local infrastructure fails due to power outages, of which there have been many in South Africa in the past year.

Alpheus Mangale, Group Chief Executive Officer at Seacom, has been widely quoted in the regional press as saying: “The end goal is to make the LEO service an essential value offering for organisations of all shapes and sizes.” However, Seacom is not alone. A number of major names, not least Starlink, are pursing LEO opportunities in Africa.

Seacom also points out that LEO is optimal for enterprises with low latency and intensive workload requirements, including those in sectors such as financial services, retail, mining, and education.

So far, however, no specific LEO partners have been named but Seacom has said it is partnering with one of South Africa’s leading financial service providers. That company will use LEO to expand its network access capabilities and ensure reliable product and service delivery.

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