NTT Docomo strikes deal with Amazon’s Project Kuiper

Japan is well served by its terrestrial communications networks, both wireless and fiber, but the country’s mountainous terrain and many islands make it challenging to restore connectivity in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper, although not yet commercially launched, will provide a good solution for that challenge, according to companies involved in a new collaboration announced Tuesday. The partnership includes NTT, NTT Docomo, NTT Com and SKY Perfect JSAT.

The companies formed a strategic collaboration with Project Kuiper, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network developed by Amazon, to bring satellite connectivity to customers in Japan. The press release announcing the deal mentions enterprise and government customers; an NTT spokesperson told Nikkei Asia that a retail customer service is under consideration.

Businesses will be able to use Project Kuiper connectivity to support a range of applications, including IoT, predictive maintenance, fleet management, remote manufacturing and more, according to the companies. Customers also will be able to use Project Kuiper to connect to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run advanced technologies such as machine learning and AI.

“Improving connectivity infrastructure will become even more important in the future to help solve various issues facing society and to establish sustainable economic and social activities,” said Katsuhiko Kawazoe, senior executive vice president of NTT, in a statement. “We look forward to accelerating innovation and achieving a future in which we deliver further value in cooperation with Project Kuiper, bringing together the respective technologies and resources of each company, such as NTT’s IOWN technology.”

Earlier this year, the FCC granted Kuiper permission to deploy its low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, which will consist of 3,236 satellites.

According to Amazon, Project Kuiper recently achieved a 100% success rate for its prototype satellite test mission, validating key technologies that make up its satellites and network.

Project Kuiper expects to begin beta testing connectivity services with select customers and partners in the second half of 2024. NTT and SKY Perfect JSAT expect to take part in that testing as part of this collaboration.