Reflecting on more than 20 years of progress.
Today, Twoobii is the leading Smart Satellite Services provider offering broadband services to the business market in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and the rest of SADC.
Success like this doesn’t happen overnight; nor does it come out of nowhere.
This is the story behind the Twoobii success story, a trip down memory lane and a reflection on what it took to build what is now the leading broadband platform in Southern Africa.
Testing Internet over Satellite
Internet-over-Satellite is now a standard technology solution and is so entrenched in everything satellite that it is hard to believe that IP-over-satellite didn’t exist before around 2000.
In 2002, the Q-KON engineering team tested the first IP-over-satellite service for PanAmSat using the RadyneComstream IPSat satellite modem solution.
Tested by Stadler Brits and Piet Swemmer in Lagos, Nigeria, this marked the start of Q-KON’s journey to deliver Internet access over satellite to the African continent.
A Decade of Experience
Between 2000 and 2010, Q-KON developed and operated multiple Ku-band and C-band platforms to provide satellite broadband services to Nigeria, West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
With operational offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Luanda, Angola the Q-KON engineering team gained first-hand, on-the-ground experience in overcoming various challenges and delivering services in Africa as well as in specific platform design requirements.
During this time, Q-KON also developed ViNet services using the Viasat Linkstar hub, operating on PanAmSat 1R Ku-band over West Africa.
In a market that was then only using C-band services, we led the Ku-band technology revolution and became known as the “King of Ku-band”.
The ViNet service was the very first Ku-band broadband offering for West Africa that focused on developing the larger user market sector through the deployment of small 1.2m VSAT terminals.
We also developed the V-Plus service acceleration router which is a very special way of accessing what are now referred to as “Smart Satellite Services”.
Developed in partnership with Thomas Switala, the V-Plus unit ensured voice quality, local caching, Wi-Fi and traffic management capabilities.
The first large-scale platform in the SADC region
In 2010, Q-KON developed the SkyeVine platform, which operated on the Newtec Sat3Play hub and used the Intelsat IS28 (then known as PanAmSat NewDawn).
This was Q-KON’s second-generation platform, developed to service business and prosumer market sectors in southern Africa – and was also the first service for the fintech point-of-sale market sector.
SkyeVine services were sold through a network of channel partners in Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, servicing around 4 500 end-users at its peak.
We developed the capabilities to deal with different currencies for revenue collections, building the network for local voice interconnect services and, most importantly, balancing the quality-of-service vs cost metrics.
Around 2012, we developed que-X, our third-generation platform.
This was based on the iDirect Evolution hub and also operated on IS28.
Designed to meet the needs of governments, banks and enterprises, que-X also became the R&D platform for the development of SD-WAN-over-satellite services, Layer2-over-satellite and advanced billing architectures, with all these expertise being added to the foundation of the current Twoobii Smart Satellite Service Portfolio.
From NewDawn to Sunset
On March 31st, 2022, the Q-KON team switched off the SkyeVine platform, thereby bringing to a close a special chapter in our journey to service Africa and develop the most advanced and satellite services platform.
SkyeVine has now been superseded by Twoobii, our fourth-generation platform and the first Smart Satellite Service in Africa.
We are proud of the path we have walked to get here, and grateful for all the engineers who contributed to finding creative solutions and developing new features, and to all our team members who have driven service delivery and, most of all, to our customers who have made each special milestone possible.
By building on over two decades of satellite services engineering capabilities, Twoobii can confidently look forward to even more exciting developments with the emerging LEO and MEO horizons.
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With over 30 years’ experience in designing, engineering, developing and implementing wireless, microwave and satellite communication systems in Africa, Dawie continues to focus on developing Telco solutions that meet the user requirements of emerging markets through class-leading technology