Two (2) balloons have arrived in the country and are now circling Kenyan airspace a week after the company received cabinet approval to launch its service in Kenya. The Google owned company has partnered with Telkom Kenya to launch balloon-powered Internet service in Kenya.
The two Loon balloons can be seen on flight tracking service, Flightradar24 circling Kenyan airspace at an altitude of 65,500 feet. On the service, the two balloons are identified with the call signs HBAL125 and HBAL092.
Loon has received approval to host Telkom spectrum on its stratospheric balloons; utilise millimeter wave spectrum to send connectivity from the ground to balloons overhead, and import and install ground infrastructure. Loon has worked with Telkom, Nokia, East Africa Data Centre, and Liquid Telecom to install ground stations in Nairobi and Nakuru.
The Loon service will use its 4G LTE Internet solution to connect unserved and under-served communities in Kenya. Initial coverage areas have already been identified, within the larger central area of the country; fairly mountainous and remote areas, making service accessibility and availability a challenge.
Loon uses base stations that are housed in high altitude balloons that operate 20 kilometres (65,000 feet) above sea level to provide mobile phone services. The base stations are powered by on-board solar panels.