Athonet and SpaceX Enable Antartica Exploration


Private cellular network provides secure communications to team in harsh environment

Vicenza, Italy, February 22, 2023 – Athonet, a leader in private cellular network technology, and SpaceX today announced the setup of a private cellular network at Union Glacier, Antarctica for critical voice and data communications.

Athonet created a dedicated kit with a complete Athonet 4G network including antenna, radio, SIMs, core and applications to send to the Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) team in Union Glacier. The private cellular network is connected using SpaceX Starlink as the backhaul connection.

The network enables coverage for critical voice and data communications including push-to-talk, emergency messaging, VoIP, and other daily activities around camp for the service team. It also provides internet connection to guests such as tourists and research teams.

The Athonet kit was extremely fast and simple to install and deploy at the base camp, and within a few hours the team had a cellular network umbrella to cover a 4-5km area providing services to the teams and guests. The team needed a network that was rugged enough to withstand harsh conditions at the South Pole including negative temperatures averaging -30°C and high winds. The Athonet and Starlink solution provided the exact solution needed by the South Pole exploration team.

“Communications are necessary in every part of the world, but especially in remote areas where there may be extreme weather or challenging geography issues,” said Gianluca Verin, chief executive officer, Athonet. “The Athonet private cellular core was designed with these challenges in mind from our very first deployment supporting the earthquake in Italy more than ten years ago. From there, our solution is now deployed across the world in airports, mines, utilities, governments, schools and universities and healthcare.”