by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – MTN South Africa is set to be one of the leading pioneers of fifth generation technology (5G).
This after the operator selected Ericsson as its 5G network modernisation vendor as it upgrades its core network to support third generation partnership project (3GPP)-compliant 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture.
Ericsson will supply 5G products and solutions from its Radio Access Network (RAN), transport and core portfolios, with commercial roll-out expected to start in 2020.
The commercialisation of 5G is planned between 2020 and 2022, with a focus on user cases and applications relevant in the South African context.
Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer, MTN South Africa, said the country was undergoing a huge digital transformation, which would open up new business opportunities and boost the nation’s economy.
He said to enable and speed up this process, MTN and Ericsson were rapidly upgrading the former’s network.
“Launching 5G will accomplish this transformation and, with fixed wireless access, will ensure high quality, increased capacity, and greater reliability for our customers,” Chiarelli said.
In addition to providing end-to-end 5G capabilities, Ericsson has been chosen to modernise MTN South Africa’s existing 4G and legacy radio access networks as part of a three-year deal signed earlier this year.
This is aimed at accelerating MTN South Africa’s digitalisation ambitions.
“With this deal MTN South Africa will be one of the true 5G pioneers in Africa,” Nicolas Blixell, Vice President, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said.
“Citizens, enterprises, industry and society in general in South Africa are set to benefit enormously from 5G and we are here to help MTN South Africa make that happen,” he added.
Ericsson now has more than 70 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique communication service providers, of which 23 are live networks.
MTN Group and Ericsson meanwhile have jointly won the ‘Delivering Excellence in Customer Experience Award at the just-ended AfricaCom 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Ericsson Customer Experience Programme (ECEP).
The ECEP is a proactive approach to improving customer experience by focusing on network performance improvements in operator 2G, 3G and LTE networks.
During 2018 and 2019 the programme was run in eight MTN networks, namely Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa.
– CAJ News