AfricaCom 2019, Cape Town – Globalstar has announced a partnership with Nokia.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) sweeping steadily across the African continent highlights the increasing need for solutions that are tailored for, and compatible with, the digital transformation journey of enterprises across many vertical domains.

The need for high capacity, low latency and secure connectivity that is easy to deploy in multiple sites, and often across national borders, poses a real challenge. One of the key enablers is spectrum for local deployments combined with an appropriate automation platform.

Globalstar and Nokia have developed an innovative solution, which allows enterprises to deploy intelligent network applications in a dedicated spectrum band. It is based on Nokia’s industrial-grade private wireless Digital Automation Cloud platform together with Globalstar’s 3GPP Band 53 spectrum.

“Providing private LTE/4.9G solutions to organizations and countries require spectrum, and this is where we come in,” says Barbee Ponder, Globalstar general counsel and vice-president of regulatory affairs. “We have globally-harmonized spectrum that we utilize for our Mobile Satellite Services (MSS), and we are currently obtaining administration-specific authorisations globally to provide terrestrial LTE services in this band – which happens to be a perfect fit for Nokia’s private LTE/4.9G offering.”

Both companies successfully collaborated on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) process to standardize this specific band of spectrum, which has been designated as Band 53. Their strategic alliance further expands the opportunities for both Globalstar and Nokia in terms of development, innovation and application across countries, industries, and use cases.

Nokia is already offering Band 53 access points and user end devices (UEDs) such as modems, ruggedised handsets and tablets.

In its bid to develop a harmonized utilisation of Band 53 for terrestrial private LTE/4.9G deployments across the African continent, Globalstar has secured rights from the authorities in South Africa, Mozambique, Gabon, Botswana, and Rwanda.

“In Africa alone, our terrestrial authorizations span more than 1,1-million square miles of territory, covering a population larger than 100 million people,” says Ponder. “We have obtained terrestrial LTE authority over our entire 16,5MHz of S-band spectrum with permissible power limits for both macro and small cell deployments.”

The Globalstar MSS solutions provide complementary connectivity to end-user assets and employees when outside of the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud network in remote areas, such as mining installations, or oil, gas, and energy sites.

This 4IR/IoT partnership allows both companies to introduce powerful digitalisation solutions to the African market, that can be adapted for use across multiple industries.

Band 53 enables the deployment of comprehensive solutions that can cover all operational requirements regardless of location.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Globalstar in order to support the digitalization of business in Africa, helping them connect more things than ever before, such as sensors, cameras, drones, tablets, and phones, and apply real-time analytics to their data,” says Shkumbin Hamiti, head of ecosystem and partnerships at Nokia Digital Automation.

“High capacity data transfer and on-premise computing capabilities ensure efficient and secure digital automation, for large and small enterprises, indoors and outdoors, and in both urban and remote areas.”

As the partnership evolves, Globalstar and Nokia anticipate the expansion of their commercial relationship to create new opportunities for business. As they continue to pursue harmonization in Band 53, customers will be able to deploy a device ecosystem that operates seamlessly across locations, which will redefine the communications landscape for 4IR.

“Now that Nokia has become an authorized value-added reseller (VAR), they will be able to tailor solutions for individual customers and provide critical connectivity for assets and people when operating also outside of the secure private wireless coverage provided by Nokia,” concludes Ponder.