Launched in 1994, a Mobile Network Operator (MNO), that is a part of a multinational telecommunications group, operates in 21 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They offer vital voice, data and digital services to retail customers, as well as enterprise solutions to the corporate and public sectors. In Africa, they partner with the Uganda Communications Commission, which was established with the principal goal of developing a modern communications infrastructure.

Customer Challenge

More than 80% of Uganda’s population lives in isolated rural areas, with poor or nonexistent broadband connectivity. Motivated by a desire to bring the social and economic benefits of reliable connectivity to these communities, the government of Uganda launched an ambitious strategy: To facilitate access at speeds of at least 3 Mbps to 100% of rural areas by 2020.

In the past, operators have been unable to provide connectivity in these scattered settlements. The long distances between sites and the lack of adequate power infrastructure made terrestrial backhaul too costly to sustain.

How We Helped

Intelsat worked with the MNO to customize a commercial model that would bring resilient, high-performance connectivity to Uganda while minimizing implementation and operating costs.

With a business plan in place, Intelsat implemented a satellite-based low-cost, turnkey, solar-powered solution for expanding 2G and 3G, providing data and voice services to thousands in Bufundi and Kibuku.

The fully outdoor, small-cell system—implemented with satellite equipment, smallcell RAN and solar power and batteries—delivered fast, affordable internet services and reduced the need for maintenance and management.


Business growth via capture of market share in remote areas

  • A quickly deployed pilot program (using a cost-effective solution reaching rural areas) gave the MNO a competitive advantage in a new market.
  • Dynamic bandwidth sharing between sites combined with high-throughput satellite delivered profitability and a quality user experience for voice and data.
  • Scalable business model without capex constraints enabled the MNO to adapt bandwidth on demand

Safer, more secure communities with thriving economies

  • Many people in Bufundi and Kibuku were able to make phone calls for the first time, giving them access to the outside world and enhancing health and well-being across the region.