HomeAccessBICS-Lynk to offer satellite-direct service for resale by mobile network operators

    BICS-Lynk to offer satellite-direct service for resale by mobile network operators


    African MNOs will be a key channel for the B2B service

    Connectivity specialist BICS and satellites-to-phone telecoms pioneer Lynk Global have set up a satellite-to-phone service with a difference. The technology is largely the same and the virgin territory – the remote corners of the world – is similar but the major difference is the structure of the business – a two tier sales channel in which their satellite phone connections are resold by mobile network operators.

    Lynk claims it is a different proposition from other direct satellite-to-mobile arrangements, because the partners are not seeking to sell directly to consumers themselves but to become a supply partner for MNOs. “With Lynk we saw the chance to create something meaningful and special for our mobile network operator partners and their subscribers,” said Mikael Schachne, VP of Telco Markets at BICS.

    The service from the BICS-Lynk pact will target the towerless terrain of several rural areas in Africa, and also offer comms coverage to ‘off grid’ people in the Americas, Caribbean and South-East Asia.

    By partnering with MNOs at the beginning, BICS and Lynk aim to use the mobile operators’ marketing skills to help them sign up a bigger share of society’s ‘off grids’, or OGs as they call them. Mobile data services company BICS will use its global network to pair Lynk’s satellite constellation and the world’s mobile operators. Lynk’s technology allows standard roaming partner integration without any hardware or software changes to the mobile operators’ networks, bringing coverage to remote areas, islands and offshore.

    Roughly 6% of the world’s population is on the wrong side of the “digital divide”, says a BICs release, with at least 450 million people excluded from all the educational, social and economic advantages that a connected world can offer. The cost of bringing them into the fold has been too prohibitive when the only method for inclusion involved cable laying and building a tower, because some terrain is too difficult to cross. With the cost of satellites falling Lynk’s ‘cell tower in space’ technology fixes that, it claims, by providing a satellite-direct-to-mobile-phone service. It has many competitors who have had the same idea, including a joint effort by SpaceX and T-Mobile and an imminent launch by AST SpaceMobile.

    “Being left out of the digital world traps hundreds of millions in the deepest poverty and eliminates access to basic emergency services,” said Charles Miller, Lynk CEO and co-founder. “Our partnership with BICS will allow MNOs to affordably expand their coverage and connect more people.”