Pan-African operator group MTN is deploying more than 5000 OpenRAN sites across its 21 African operations.
The sites use OpenRAN technology from Parallel Wireless, and will bring 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity into areas that were previously under connected.
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.
The Parallel Wireless OpenRAN has shown a very strong performance, quality of service and cost benefits while for the first time simultaneously delivering all 3 RAN technologies (2G, 3G, 4G/LTE) to commercial customers.
The multi-technology software-defined GPP-based base stations allows MTN to deploy 2G systems with fully virtualised 2G technology and to run 2G, 3G and 4G simultaneously on the same base station to provide commercial data and voice services to MTN’s customers across Africa, in urban and rural parts of the country. Multi-technology RRUs are software-defined, easy to deploy and maintain, and are software upgradable to 5G.
Dirk Karl, Executive and Chief Procurement Officer, MTN, said, “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. 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.”
Christoph Fitih, Sales Director, Africa, Parallel Wireless, said, “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.”
Lux Maharaj, Director, Africa Sales Parallel Wireless, said, “By decoupling the programmable RAN software from the hardware and allowing it to run on general-purpose processing platforms, Parallel Wireless enables cloud-native architectures, providing greater flexibility for MTN. As a result, the costs associated with building 2G 3G 4G mobile networks are reduced and connectivity can be brought to every single person across the African continent.”