Skip to content

SoftBank, Rwanda Complete First Stratospheric 5G Test

Source: Softbank

Kigali, Rwanda - SoftBank Corp. and the Rwandan government have conducted the world's first 5G communications test from the stratosphere. 

Why it matters:

The test is a milestone with implications for the telecommunications and education sectors, especially in emerging markets.

The Key Points

  • In partnership with the Rwandan government, SoftBank Corp conducted a 5G communications test using a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV).
  • The test lasted 73 minutes at an altitude of up to 16.9 km, facilitating video calls between Rwanda and Japan.
  • A cooperation agreement between SoftBank and the Rwandan Ministry of Education aims to use this technology for educational purposes, especially in rural areas without telecommunications infrastructure.

What they say

Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT Innovation in Rwanda, noted that the initiative is a significant step toward achieving digital inclusion. 

Junichi Miyagawa, President and CEO of SoftBank Corp, said the test results were "stratospheric."

What comes next

Further studies are expected to explore the commercial viability of the High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) in Rwanda and other African countries. 

The focus will be on digitizing schools and communities in rural areas that lack telecommunications infrastructure.

These developments may open new avenues for capital allocation in Africa's telecom and EdTech sectors.