MTN Set To Deploy 5,000 OpenRAN Sites Across Africa

MTN set to deploy 5,000 OpenRAN sites in Africa

12 November 2019 | Jason McGee-Abe

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South Africa’s MTN is deploying Parallel Wireless OpenRAN tech at more than 5,000 sites, bringing 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity into areas that were previously under connected.

Parallel Wireless, which delivers a software-defined end-to-end OpenRAN solution for coverage and capacity, will help to deliver MTN’s OpenRAN vision in 21 operations of bridging the digital divide across Africa and reimagining wireless infrastructure.

“OpenRAN is certainly not new to MTN. Our Group technology teams concluded field trials in Zambia in 2018, deploying commercial sites from the start of 2019. Our team has steadily been focused on creating viable RAN solutions alongside the traditional deployments of network technology suppliers in order to accelerate the rural expansion in our markets,” said Dirk Karl, executive and chief procurement officer at MTN.

“The Parallel Wireless All G OpenRAN solution is attractive to MTN because of easy upgradability to any G, allowing MTN to keep building 2G networks in areas untouched by wireless networks, while at the same time continuing to allocate resources and time to expand their 3G or 4G networks with the same investment.”

Africa is the most digitally divided continent with only 44% unique mobile users. Traditional 2G, 3G or 4G networks require expensive and bulky equipment for their deployment and operation. These hardware-based networks are difficult and pricey to upgrade.

Parallel Wireless enables a shift to open, software-based, and virtualised OpenRAN network architectures to overcome these deployment challenges, while also delivering network agility and much lower deployment and maintenance cost.

Christoph Fitih, sales director for Africa at Parallel Wireless, added: “As one of the innovative communication providers, MTN understands the true potential of improving coverage by embracing new network architectures, such as OpenRAN. We are proud to have partnered with MTN for these deployments to be able to connect the previously unconnected without making extensive capital investments associated with legacy network deployments.

“By shifting networks to virtualised OpenRAN, MTN can cloudify their networks to deliver coverage to every single subscriber at much lower cost. Low-cost wireless coverage will fuel economic growth, improve infrastructure, and reduce costs for consumers ensuring access to connectivity with the best technology and leaving nobody behind.”