[South Africa] HAPSMobile partners with Facebook to fast track adoption of HAPS technologies
HAPSMobile Inc, a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp., has joined Facebook’s High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) flight demonstration conducted in Oudtshoorn, South Africa as part of a collaboration between the two companies to accelerate the development and adoption of HAPS communication technologies.
The companies share a vision of leveraging HAPS systems to build stable Internet connectivity environments at locations unserved by telecommunication networks, including mountainous terrain, remote islands and developing countries.
For the flight demonstration, a small general aviation aircraft flying at an altitude of 4km was equipped with Facebook’s advanced communication system. The test flight utilized the same 26GHz and 38GHz HAPS spectrum bands that will be considered for HAPS at the WRC-19 (World Radio Conference) in Egypt in October 2019.
The flight demonstration showcased how the HAPS system could provide mobile backhaul to enable mobile operators to extend broadband connectivity to rural areas that have either been entirely unserved due to lack of backhaul or allow them to upgrade 2G or 3G base stations to today’s broadband speeds given this source of high capacity backhaul.
“We partner with companies across the industry to bring affordable Internet access to more people, faster,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, Vice President of Facebook Connectivity. “Our work with HAPSMobile and this flight demonstration is an example of how we can share knowledge and best practices from our investment in HAPS to connect more people and further catalyze the industry around next generation broadband connectivity.”
“Facebook has been working in the HAPS industry since 2014 and has many insights into related technologies,” said Junichi Miyakawa, Representative Director & CTO of SoftBank Corp., and also President and CEO of HAPSMobile. “Our collaboration with Facebook has been fruitful to HAPSMobile’s efforts to promote the adoption and development of HAPS. Building on this flight demonstration, HAPSMobile will continue to develop technologies and standardize spectrum for HAPS with the aim of revolutionizing the world’s mobile networks.”
The two companies will continue to promote HAPS spectrum ahead of the WRC held by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) this fall.