Telkom Kenya seeks to expand its internet subscription by 4.8 million users with the launch of 4G balloon network, a local media reported. Telkom’s 4G balloon network known as Loon was launched in partnership with Google parent Alphabet.
The launch of Loon has positioned Kenya as the first country in the world to commercially leverage internet innovation on a global scale. It is reported that Loon comprises stratospheric balloons in an effort to introduce internet connectivity into rural and remote communities globally. In theory, the high-altitude balloons will create an aerial wireless network having up to 4G-LTE speeds.
Previously, the balloons were used in emergency situations such as in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017. In this context, President Uhuru Kenyatta, told the media, “I want you to take full advantage of the enhanced internet speed to sell your honey and other produce to the world.”
According to the Communication Authority of Kenya data, Safaricom’s share of mobile subscriptions was at 64.8 percent. That said, Telkom Kenya recorded a market share of 3,190,661 subscribers and Equitel saw a market share of 1,726,372 subscribers.
It seems that the balloons were shipped to Kenya through the sea route from California. Loon’s Chief Executive Officer Alastair Westgarth, told the media, “This is the culmination of years of work and collaboration between Loon, Telkom, and the Kenyan government.”