MTN Group has revealed it is looking to modernise its network using Open RAN technology, allowing for the rapid expansion of 4G and 5G population coverage across its markets, in support of its ‘Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress’ strategy. Under the plan, the South Africa-based emerging markets carrier aims to roll out Open RAN across its entire African network by the end of 2021 working in collaboration with its partners Altiostar, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, TechMahindra and Voyage.
In a press release, MTN noted that for mobile network operators (MNOs) radio access network (RAN) constitutes the lion’s share of capital expenditure and operating costs. By applying Open RAN, MTN aims to achieve ‘further innovation and cost efficiencies’, noting the many benefits of Open RAN include ‘diversifying the vendor landscape, disrupting the cost flow, and removing dependencies on proprietary suppliers. It also promises cost savings and flexibility as it allows operators to use generic hardware and open interfaces’.
‘While Open RAN brings a new architecture to mobile networks and more suppliers to deal with, it gives telcos much-needed flexibility,’ said Amith Maharaj, MTN Group Executive: Network Planning and Design. ‘This means that MTN can now look at building a network that can meet cost and capacity requirements of specific markets, or even rapidly deploy 5G and/or 4G seamlessly with existing legacy services. This is a real game-changer for mobile advancement in emerging markets.’