HAPSMobile and Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT and Innovation Signal MoU to Examine Provision of Cellular Web Connectivity Utilizing Excessive Altitude Platform Stations – Drones Information


Cloudscape seen from an airplane window.

The Ministry of ICT and Innovation and HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”), a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434), announced today that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) on July 29, 2020, under which both parties will conduct a joint research project (“JRP”) that will promote the use of HAPS ( High Altitude Platform Stations) for the provision of mobile internet connections in Rwanda.

As part of the JRP, the parties plan to conduct demonstration flights using HAPSMobile’s solar powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAS) system in Rwanda to provide a 4G / 5G internet connection. The results of the JRC will serve as a guide for discussions between HAPSMobile and MINICT about potential commercial services in Rwanda and other African countries.

Junichi Miyakawa, deputy director and CTO of SoftBank Corp. as well as President and CEO of HAPSMobile, commented:

“Our mission at HAPSMobile is to bridge the digital divide and revolutionize mobile networks by using HAPS. We are very excited and encouraged to work with the Rwandan government, a leading technological force in Africa, to explore how our HAPS solution can be used to reach remote communities and provide better access to information. We look forward to working with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation on this research project so that we can investigate potential commercial applications in Rwanda and beyond. “

Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation of the Republic of Rwanda, commented: “We are excited to welcome HAPSMobile, a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp., to do business in Rwanda. This joint R&D project is in line with our government’s vision of becoming a proof of concept nation and we are committed to supporting it on the path to realization. This project will contribute to Rwanda’s primary goal of bridging the digital divide and increasing digital inclusion, not only in Rwanda but also in our region. “

About HAPSMobile

HAPSMobile Inc., a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. and owned by a minority of AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), plans and operates a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business to bridge the world’s digital divide. HAPSMobile mainly deals with the research and development of network devices for the HAPS business, the development of core networks, the planning of new business fields and activities for frequency use. AeroVironment, Inc. is the minority owner and aircraft development partner of HAPSMobile for a solar powered unmanned aircraft that was developed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems and flies in the stratosphere approximately 20 km above the ground. HAPSMobile has a strategic relationship with Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. More information is available at https://www.hapsmobile.com.

About the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Rwandese Republic

The mission of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation is to address Rwanda’s priorities for economic growth and poverty reduction by developing and coordinating national policies related to information and communication technology policies.

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