Avanti Communications' Rural Connectivity Solution
Avanti Communications’ rural solution is a groundbreaking satellite service designed to bridge the digital divide by connecting ultra-rural villages in Nigeria for the first time. This innovative solution has proven key to the Nigerian Communications Commission's (NCC) National Broadband Plan of 2020, which sets out two national goals: to achieve 90% population coverage and a penetration rate of 70% by 2025.
Avanti Rural solution uses advanced satellite technology to extend mobile network coverage to the hardest-to-reach areas of Nigeria, that would be impossible to reach using traditional terrestrial infrastructure. This off-grid service is a game-changer in the telecommunications industry, providing cellular services to the most remote communities, and in turn, promoting digital inclusion and socio-economic development.
As of 2023, Avanti has deployed over 500 ultra-rural sites in 21 Nigerian states, providing 2G and 3G connectivity to 2.5 million Nigerians. All these areas previously had no connectivity, with residents forced to travel on foot or by local bus to the nearest towns with coverage just to use their mobile phones. With the first 500 sites successfully installed, Avanti is now working with local partners to connect 10,000 rural sites over the next 5 years.
In addition to providing the satellite technology, Avanti also ensures the long-term sustainability of the service by providing skills and training to regionally-based field teams. This approach ensures that the sites are easily maintained by a local crew, so that reliable service is not entirely dependent on Avanti’s own field technicians. Reliable connectivity has dramatically improved the lives of Nigerians in the areas currently covered by Avanti, by reducing the time and money previously spent on traveling to neighboring cities for mobile access. Small businesses are booming in the now-connected villages, including resellers of SIM cards, phone charging and repair facilities and many other new enterprises. The GSMA reports that access to 3G coverage is expected to uplift Nigerian households from extreme poverty by as much as 4 percentage points within a single year and 7 percentage points within 2 or more years of coverage, which is why Avanti has focused on offering 2G and 3G services as standard through its service.
Avanti’s rural solution is not only changing the landscape of mobile network coverage in Nigeria but also setting a precedent for other countries with similar geographical and infrastructural challenges. The solution paves the way for these remote communities to have access to vital services such as online education, telehealth and digital commerce, which were previously inaccessible due to lack of connectivity. For its successes, as well as the over 200 new skilled field engineering jobs created in the process, the program was recognized by the Nigerian telecoms industry in its 2021 and 2022 awards.