MTN invests in network automation to pave way for 5G

Mobile telecommunication company, MTN has started a process in which it will automate its network in preparation for 5G technology.

The telecom, which last year announced it would embark on building 5G technology, said it had entered a partnership with members under the Telecom Infra Project.

The partnership will see MTN deploy TIP’s Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway technology to build transport products and network capabilities at 2,500 sites across the country.

This will help MTN to evolve its network to seamlessly transition to 5G.

Transport Network transmits data traffic between points within a network that enable access to the internet.

Mr Ali Monzer, the MTN chief technical information officer, said that the Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway technology provides a faster transport network to move all telecommunication traffic across networks and carries phone calls, data, messages, mobile money and digital services as well.

”This means that if you are in Karamoja, the new technology should allow you to connect a phone call in a few milliseconds. If it takes two seconds to hear the ring, the Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway technology might reduce the connection time by a certain percentage. The voice quality is also going to be enhanced. Overall, the benefits are incremental,” he said.

Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway, he added, will also enable MTN to run a much bigger automated end-to-end network at a lesser cost in a more efficient way, noting whereas it was already operational in Europe and North America, MTN would be the first in Africa to roll out this technology.

In 2019, MTN kicked off a process in which it said it would develop 5G technology as part of an evolution across its operations.
Speaking at a joint C-Band 5G trial launch at the AfricaCom meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr Giovanni Chiarelli, the then MTN Group chief technology officer, said the future (of technology) had arrived as the world innovates amid a buildup to the Fourth Industrial Revolution that has revolutionised the ICT space.

During the trial launch, MTN signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei Technologies, in which the two firms would research and innovate towards developing 5G technology.

Early this week, Mr Monzer said the technology will allow MTN to expose its network assets in a very efficient way as well as supporting the shift from just a communications service provider to a digital service company.

“This technology will allow us to run 5G, which is predominantly for industrial use for example self-driving vehicles [and] tele medicine, [among others],” he said.

In Uganda, Aviat will oversee the deployment of Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway technology using Network Operating Software.

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