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Increasing mobile broadband coverage

Getting online is now a vital part of everyday life. It is the key to unlocking the opportunities of the digital world.


But 2.6 billion people are still unconnected – large parts of the developed world have limited access and key demographic groups need help.

Research from the World Bank shows that mobile broadband can reduce the number of households in extreme poverty by four percentage points. Expanding broadband penetration across Africa by 10% could boost GDP per capita by 2.5%.

Expanding coverage to rural networks remains a key focus for us, with 25% of the EU population and 58% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa living in rural areas.

New approaches, partnerships and a blend of technologies across land, sea and space will help us to overcome some of these barriers and help deliver universal coverage.

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We aim to connect everyone to digital services by expanding network coverage to rural communities in Europe and Africa.

FY24 network deployment

Assets - Communities

Driving digital inclusion in the hardest-to-connect communities

We continue to progress on our goal to bring 4G to an additional 70 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (made as part of our participation in the UN Partner2Connect digital coalition in March 2022).

This targeted intervention includes four of the least developed countries —Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)—and will help to close a particular gap in internet usage between urban and rural communities.

Since March 2022, we have added 4G technology to 2,300 sites across these countries, providing 4G access to millions more people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Developing the first space-based mobile network

Our partnership with AST Science LLC seeks to develop the first space-based mobile network.

The network is designed to connect directly to consumers’ 4G and 5G devices without the need for specialist hardware in the hardest-to-reach areas - ultimately reaching an estimated 1.6 billion people across 49 countries.


Increasing connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world

We are partnering to increase capacity, quality and availability of internet connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world through the 2Africa submarine cable partnership - supporting the growth of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband access for millions of people.

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