New Zealand's leading telco, Spark, announced its plans to introduce satellite-to-mobile service for its customers. The service, which will be delivered in partnership with Lynk Global, is expected to undergo a trial phase by the end of the year, allowing a selected group of Spark mobile customers to participate in a free trial. Spark said further details, including eligibility criteria and timelines, will be disclosed in the coming months.
Trial Phase and Eligibility
The service will enable periodic text messaging throughout the day during the initial trial. However, as more commercial satellites are deployed, Spark intends to expand the service in 2024 to offer more regular connectivity. The ultimate goal is to provide voice and data services to customers once they become reliably available.
Satellite-to-Mobile Connectivity Expansion
Spark NZ said while satellite coverage cannot reach 100 percent due to the requirement of a clear line of sight to the sky, it offers an additional layer of resilience, especially in light of increasingly severe and frequent weather events caused by climate change. By leveraging satellite connectivity, Spark aims to extend its network reach to areas that are currently underserved by traditional mobile coverage.
Integration and Regulatory Approval
According to the statement, the trial period will provide an opportunity to refine and enhance the service in alignment with the increasing number of satellites in orbit. Integration into Spark's network and regulatory approval are also essential steps before the service can be officially launched.
Collaboration with Lynk Global and Netlinkz
The collaboration with Lynk Global and the existing partnership with Netlinkz, which aims to provide satellite broadband services, are part of Spark's broader strategy to leverage satellite technology as part of its connectivity offering to customers. Spark says it is actively working with various partners to expand the range of services it can deliver.
In a separate announcement last week, Spark revealed its partnering agreement with Netlinkz to provide Starlink business-grade satellite broadband to customers later this year. This initiative follows ongoing trials with a select number of New Zealand businesses.
Spark's introduction of satellite-to-mobile services and business-grade satellite broadband underscores its commitment to enhancing connectivity options for customers across the country, particularly in underserved areas.