Latin American telecoms group Vrio has signed a partnership deal with Amazon for its Kuiper satellite project.

“Vrio Corp. joins Amazon to develop the satellite Internet market in South America,” Grupo Werthein (Werthein Group) said this week. “DirecTV Latin America and Sky Brasil will use Project Kuiper's innovative low-Earth orbit satellite broadband network to contribute to bridging the digital divide.”

Amazon Vrio kuiper
Vrio signs deal with Amazon for the latter's Kuiper satellite project – Amazon

Plans for the company’s Project Kuiper constellation were first revealed in 2019 and Vrio aims to launch more than 3,000 satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) over the next few years to provide broadband connectivity.

Kuiper will help Vrio offer broadband services across seven South American countries; Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

Amazon and Vrio are aiming for the service to go online in 2025, with Argentina being the first country to receive connectivity.

“There are hundreds of millions of households around the world that don’t have access to reliable broadband internet, which means they can’t take part in things that we can take for granted,” said Amazon’s senior VP for devices and services, Panos Panay.

Darío Werthein, president of Vrio Corp., added: "This collaboration with Project Kuiper is in line with our strategy of extending our services throughout South America and continues to define us as a regional leader in information, digital entertainment, connectivity, and innovation promotion.”

Owned by Argentine holding company Werthein, Vrio Corp. provides retail and wholesale communication services through its DirecTV and Sky brands, and live TV and streaming through DGO/Sky+. It currently offers services across 11 countries; Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Curaçao, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, and Uruguay.

Amazon has to launch half of its planned 3,236-satellite constellation by July 30, 2026, or risk losing its FCC license to operate the satellite network. To date, the company has launched two prototype satellites for the project, which are in the process of being de-orbited.

Amazon said it expects to begin deploying Kuiper satellites in the coming months and launch service demonstrations later this year.

Vodafone and Vodacom have also signed on as Kuiper partners to provide services across Europe and Africa to extend coverage areas for their 4G/5G cellular networks.