South Africa-based multinational mobile operator MTN Group has partnered with ZTE of China to commercialise the deployment of 5G networks and services across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Under the pair’s frame agreement, ZTE and MTN say they will conduct a series of evaluations and tests of 5G technology verification, ‘to strengthen the leadership position of MTN and accelerate the commercialisation of 5G in the region. The Chinese vendor says it will provide full technical support, noting that with 5G trials expected to enter their first phase in 2018, it will carry out laboratory and field tests of 5G New Radio (NR), 5G virtual network partition, DevOps and Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) at carrier level, and a 5G Flexhaul support network.
Commenting on the development, Babak Fouladi, director of technological innovation at MTN Group, said: ‘ZTE has always been a long term strategic partner of MTN Group. After having collaborated extensively in 2G, 3G and 4G, we are excited to work with ZTE in 5G. We believe that 5G is an evolutionary step to provide connectivity, data and access to our customers. We look forward to continuing our journey of innovation in the area of 5G and thus strengthen the current collaboration, in addition to exploring together the future orientation of the construction of networks and the progress of technology and bring services to our customers. For MTN and ZTE, customers are always the first priority. Providing them with the best services is more important than technology and efficiency.’