Gateway Communications has provided a flexible and robust connectivity solution to Emtel, for the remote islands of Agalega and Rodrigues, which form part of the Republic of Mauritius.

The Rodrigues Island lies 550km northeast of Mauritius with a population of about 35,000. The island contributes to the economy through a variety of sectors including tourism, fishing and agriculture. Effective mobile connectivity is needed in order to facilitate business-to-business communication and for general correspondence with the mainland.

The Agalega Island lies 1 122km north of Mauritius and has a population of less than 300 people. This island is self-sustaining, but residents utilise mobile communication for ordering supplies, for emergency situations and to stay in touch with their friends and family across the island archipelago.

Although previously connected, the islanders of Rodrigues and Agalega frequently experienced weak links and outages often brought on by bad weather. Emtel, a division of the Millicom International Cellular (MIC) group, approached Gateway Communications for a potential solution, which would deliver the most efficient voice and data connectivity to the residents of these islands.

Through the innovative use by Emtel of CellDirect – Gateway’s satellite cellular backhaul solution – the islanders now have access to reliable and effective mobile communications. CellDirect is used to connect hard to reach base stations and is the ideal solution when addressing lower traffic density areas. This solution also results in capital and operational savings for the customer.

Emtel CTO Paul Valette says it is an exciting time for the communities on the Agalega and Rodrigues islands. “Effective and affordable connectivity will enable them to improve socio-economic conditions. Staying connected in a globalised world has never been more critical.”

“This project once again reiterates Gateway’s ability to serve remote areas in Africa,” says Mike van den Bergh, CEO of Gateway Communications. “Reliability, quality and coverage are key factors for mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs), which made satellite the ideal communications technology for this project. Our experts understand the fundamentals of communications in Africa: it’s what we do, and with so many new uses of satellite-enabled technologies on the way, we’re confident that our improved satellite services will continue to play a vital role in pan-African connectivity for many years to come.”