MTN wants to bridge the digital divide by ensuring that rural people in Africa and the Middle East are connected to the internet through its network, Africa and the Middle East-biggest mobile phone operator disclosed on Tuesday.
At AfricaCom, MTN revealed its innovative rural connectivity strategy.
The company said it is amongst the Pioneers of OpenRAN – the technology which enables operators to achieve cost-effective deployments allowing for greater connectivity to previously unconnected areas.
MTN announced it has deployed over 200 commercial rural sites across its footprint, using OpenRAN technology.
The operator added that it is projecting to deploy more than 5,000 sites in rural areas across its 21 operations, bringing 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity to areas that were previously unconnected.
To realise this goal, MTN said it will rely on an ecosystem of partners who will bring their expertise to build and maintain the sites, utilising a full turnkey approach.
“Our Group Technology team has been pioneering OpenRAN, concluding field trials in Zambia in 2018 and deploying commercial sites from the beginning of 2019,” said Rob Shuter, MTN Group CEO.
“We focus on creating viable new RAN solutions alongside the traditional deployments of network technology suppliers in order to accelerate the rural expansion in our markets.”
MTN operations in Uganda and Guinea Conakry are already benefiting from this technology, as MTN has also partnered with the likes of VANU, Parallel Wireless and NuRAN Wireless to deliver the technology.
As one of the foremost members of the Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), MTN carries out solution testing on all hardware and software elements at its state-of-the-art head office in Johannesburg, South Africa. The TIP initiative aims to define 2G, 3G and 4G RAN solutions based on general-purpose, vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology.
By continuing to accelerate innovation through initiatives such as OpenRAN, MTN continues to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, solidifying its position as a leading mobile operator in the market.