Amazon Inc is teaming with mobile telco group Verizon to help build a new satellite network to rival Elon Musk’s Starlink venture.
The venture, known as Kuiper will use Verizon to expand 4G / LTE and 5G coverage to remote areas with signals potentially to be sent to Verizon’s cell towers.
Amazon has sunk US$10bn into Kuiper, which plans to put more than 3,200 satellites into low Earth orbit at altitudes between 366 miles and 391 miles.
Kuiper wants to reach areas where currently connectivity to the internet is difficult due to remoteness or difficult terrain.
Andy Jassy, Amazon’s chief executive, said: “There are billions of people without reliable broadband access, and no single company will close the digital divide on its own.”
Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite project is being developed by his space arm Space, which wants to put 12,000 satellites in orbit.
SpaceX has so far launched more than 1,700 Starlink satellites, while Kuiper has yet to make a launch.
Other businesses building up mobile satellite networks include Europe-backed OneWeb and Telesat, both of which have made several launches.