KARACHI: VEON Ltd, a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, and OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, announced on Wednesday they are partnering to provide extended mobile Internet connectivity and digital services in emerging markets, including Pakistan.
VEON Group’s operating companies serve a vast geography, including countries that have some of the lowest population densities in the world, uneven population distribution, internal migration patterns, rich economic resources in remote areas, and disaster-prone regions like Pakistan.
According to a statement issued by VEON on Wednesday, the OneWeb partnership will further support the group’s “4G for all” and “humanitarian connectivity” focus, which has seen its operating companies significantly increase their 4G coverage over the past two years. The initiative, as per the statement, has helped bridge the digital divide for millions of users, respond to disasters, and unlock economic growth in their markets.
“VEON, a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, and OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, announced today at the Mobile World Congress that they are partnering to provide extended mobile Internet connectivity and digital services in emerging markets,” the statement said.
“The use in Pakistan would primarily be for disaster communications when fiber lines are cut and temporary backhaul needs to be established,” a spokesperson for VEON told Arab News.
The company said a good example would have been last year’s floods in Pakistan, where OneWeb service would have enabled temporary cells to be created to assist millions of displaced people.
In 2022, devastating floods in Pakistan killed more than 1,700, displaced 33 million people, and destroyed swathes of agricultural land, leaving the cash-strapped country with an estimated loss of $30 billion.
Telecom and Internet services were suspended during the cataclysmic floods in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and southwestern Pakistan, which hampered rescue operations.
The statement further added that OneWeb’s services, with their substantive capabilities to deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity to governments, businesses, and communities, can work seamlessly with mobile communication infrastructure to enable satellite backhaul to be integrated into mobile networks.
OneWeb additionally enables operators to expand 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G networks into underserved or unconnected communities, particularly those in hard-to-reach places.