C-band: Continuing to Shine in Africa

C-band was the first frequency band to be allocated for use by the satellite communications industry for Fixed and Broadcasting Satellite Services. C-band frequencies have long been recognized to perform better under adverse weather conditions such as rain and snow fade in comparison with other satellite frequency ranges, such as Ku- and Ka-band.


Although new frequencies have emerged over the years and are being used by the satellite industry, C-band still represents a highly significant portion of the total capacity currently supplied by satellites. Today, both C- and Ku-bands are nearly reaching congestion levels.

In order to meet requirements for reliable and uninterrupted communications for maritime, banking, defense and governments, C-band is often preferred over other higher frequency bands which are prone to rain fade. C-band also easily meets the stringent reliability requirements of service levels of over 99 percent of satellite operators.


C-band communications are being represented by wireless manufacturers from developed countries to be of declining importance, but that is clearly not true in Africa where conditions are fundamentally different. Satellite services delivered via the C-band spectrum will spur socio-economic development in Africa.

Nigeria, DRC and Angola have recently recorded increasing investment that has contributed to a boosting of their economies with a key segment being banking. C-band satellite connectivity facilitates the opening of new branches. This in turn favors banking inclusion by giving access to banking services for millions of existing and new customers.

C-band is extensively used for communication networks, with a large impact for the country’s economy, social development and the efficiency of government actions. Users include a large number of public and private organizations, and networks have been identified in both urban and rural areas, with C-band often being used to connect multiple locations spread around the country, as well as to provide direct or backup international connectivity.

The availability of C-band satellite links is of clear, direct and often considerable importance to a variety of economic sectors in all three focus countries. C-band contribution feeds directly underpin the television industries of Africa. C- band transmission is a key component for the distribution of free-to-air (analog and digital) and pay- DTT services. The access of millions of viewers to TV content is consequently dependent on the availability of high-quality C-band transmissions.

Another key segment is the oil and gas and mining industries. Connectivity is key in both exploration and daily production activities, and any impact on C-band networks would have a direct impact on the productivity of the industry, directly impacting the country’s economy and government budgets.

A third key segment is the banking sector. In each country, C-band VSAT networks are widely used to connect bank branches to headquarters, supporting banking services to millions of citizens on a daily basis. The availability of C-band connectivity is an important tool to support the expansion of banking networks.

The fourth key economic sector supported by C-band connectivity corresponds to the telecom sector, including mobile networks and ISPs. Mobile operators, in particular, are dependent on C-band to connect part of their mobile base stations. C-band is and will remain for a number of years the only option to expand the coverage of mobile networks on a national basis.


  • Education and health: Programs to connect schools, universities and offices of the Ministry of Education are in service in at least Nigeria and DRC. In addition, we identified networks supporting health activities, including one pan-African network connected with India and providing telemedicine capabilities.
  • Better access and efficiency of education and medicine: There are multiple programmes currently deployed to help e-education and e-medicine in Africa using C-band for rural connectivity. As an example, the pan African e-project (by ISRO) has as of January 2014 connected more than 11,500 university students, provided more than 4,500 medical sessions and more than 500 medical consultations in 53 countries in Africa over C-band.
  • Water access and agriculture: We identified networks in DRC and Nigeria supporting either agriculture (Nigeria) or water supply (DRC).
  • Air navigation, safety and security: Airports and air traffic control centers in all three countries are interconnected by C-band networks, representing networks of 6 to 30 terminals. In addition, we identified, at least in DRC, some VSAT networks supporting the action of police forces and customs, with larger deployments planned for the coming years.
  • e-Government: We identified large networks in each of the three countries, including for the driver’s license scheme in Nigeria, for elections and fiscal administration in DRC and for the ID card project and security in Angola.
  • Other networks: Our research and interviews we completed suggest the use of at least 650 additional terminals for government offices, for uses that we could not directly identify.


Connectivity in support of professional services
Oil and gas sector Connectivity to oil exploration sites.  Linking retail gas stations and also monitoring pipelines.   E.g.: NNPC(Nigeria), Sonangol (Angola), SEP (Congo), Total(Angola), Chevron, Shell, Agip, CONOIL, SAPETRO, Eni (Angola, Nigeria), Tullow Oil (Kenya) etc.
Mining sector Data  &  Voice  connectivity  to  remote  exploration  sites  and  for  personnel  welfare. E.g.: Allana potash (Ethiopia), DeBeers (Angola)
Banking/financial sector Providing core banking solutions. Providing regular and backup connectivity to ATMs. E.g.: Zenith (Nigeria), BPC, BCI (Angola), BCDC, TMB, Raw bank (DRC), AfDB, VISA
Maritime sector Data and voice connectivity to passenger and vessels. Welfare connectivity to crews.
Retail,   FMCG   &   Agri-product trading companies Connectivity  between  franchisees  or  branches  and  regional  or  global  headquarters. Transmission of Point of Sale data. E.g.: NDAD (Angola), Olam international (Nigeria)
Internet  service  provider  sector


IP backbone connectivity to ISPs who provide Internet connectivity to cafes and SOHOs

E.g.: Vizocom, Netcom Africa Ltd, Internet solutions (Nigeria)

Air Navigation Air  traffic  management  (ATM)  services and meteorology services E.g.:  NAMA,  NIMET (Nigeria), TAAG Angola Airlines
Backhaul of traffic for mobile networks and rural connectivity
Cellular backhaul Connecting remote mobile towers (BTS) to base stations (BSC). E.g.: Movicel, Unitel (Angola), MTN, Glo, Airtel, Etisalat (Nigeria), Orange, Vodacom (DRC), Ethiotelecom (Ethiopia), Telma (Madagascar)
International     voice     and     IP


Gateway connectivity to international IP & Voice backbone E.g.: Vizocom, Globacom (Nigeria), Airtel

(Kenya, Nigeria), MTN (Nigeria)

Communication   terminals/kiosks for villages Connectivity to Internet and telephone kiosks in villages. Trunking connectivity to telephone  exchanges  in  remote  regions.  E.g.:  Angola  Telecom,  MSTelcom  (Angola); NIPOST, NICEP (Nigeria), Ethiotelecom (Ethiopia)
Government networks
e-government Connectivity solutions for e-Governance applications. Also for providing connectivity between provinces and state capitals. E.g.: NICEP, NIPOST (Nigeria),
Education Voice, data and video connectivity to establish interactive satellite based distance education  system  for  the  country.  E.g.:  Anambara  School  project  (Nigeria),  NICEP (Nigeria), Pan e African network (ISRO)
Health Connectivity to rural hospitals and mobile medical vans with specialty hospitals. Medical education and disaster management support. E.g.: Pan e African network
United nations network Broadband connectivity to connect various UN agencies across Africa and to connect to their HQ in Europe/U.S. E.g.: UNDP, WHO, UNICEF (Nigeria, Angola, DRCongo),UNISFA (DRC), UNMACC(DRC),UNAMSIL (Sierra Leone)
NGOs Broadband connectivity to connect NGO units working  across Africa and to connect to their HQ in Europe/U.S. E.g.: Save the children (Nigeria), Oxfam, USAID (DRC)
Defense Voice, video and data connectivity between army/navy user terminals and headquarters. E.g.: Ministry of Defense (Angola)



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