UPDATE: Loon does not explicitly say it will launch its balloons in Uganda. Rather, the company met with Uganda’s government officials for preliminary talks, which is key as it looks to roll out services in Kenya in 2019.
“A team from Loon was in Uganda last week meeting with officials to discuss how Loon works and our commitment to safety. We can only achieve our mission by working collaboratively with governments and telecommunications organizations around the world.
“We have announced that we will begin providing balloon-powered internet to parts of Kenya starting in 2019. We are always in discussions with governments and mobile network operators about the benefits of Loon, but we have no additional announcements to make at this time.”
The folks at Loon appear to be serious about beaming internet access to more remote areas across the East African region. The Alphabet’s arm, which has tested the deployment of balloons that allow access to internet services at a cheaper cost than constructing cell towers has announced the same services in Uganda.
Loon started piloting the ‘Wi-Fi for the world’ product in Kenya as of early 2017, and over that time, the project has made significant steps toward mass roll out for the targeted demographic. This development was echoed barely two months ago when Loon partnered with Kenya’s third largest mobile operator, Telkom in a bid to popularize and improve its internet services.
The launch of Project Loon in Uganda will, therefore, be the second station in Africa after Kenya. We are not sure of the details of the Uganda deployment, but we believe the balloons will be beaming 4G/LTE signals as is the case in Kenya.
At the moment, Loon has not revealed any partnership with Uganda telecom operators, but we can make a wild guess that the American company is in talks with carriers about how internet access can be enhanced in the East African state. We will update this piece as soon as new information comes in from Kampala.
That aside, the services of Loon balloons are expected to be commercialized in 2019 as the entire project awaits approval from industry regulators. Remote areas marked by geographical issues will be targeted. Central Kenya has been cited in the calendar. More areas will be served soon thereafter.