In a recent press release MTN Group announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rakuten Symphony to carry out live 4G and 5G Open RAN Proof of Concept (PoC) trials in South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia. The trials will start in 2022 and will be based on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), which reportedly ‘assists telcos worldwide with the deployment of fully cloud-native network services’. The platform, currently deployed by Japan’s new fourth mobile network operator (MNO) Rakuten Mobile, includes cloud orchestration, Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and automation of radio site commissioning and network integration. The two parties will collaborate with Accenture and Tech Mahindra to conduct the trials in the three named countries involved.
‘We are pleased to announce our partnership with Rakuten Symphony to deploy live 4G and 5G Open RAN trials across South Africa, Nigeria, and Liberia. In line with our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, we are committed to actively driving the rapid expansion of affordable 4G and 5G coverage across markets in Africa,’ said Mazen Mroue, MTN Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer. ‘We have announced our support towards the deployment of Open RAN technology in 2021 to modernise our radio access network footprint. Through this partnership we hope to target innovation and cost efficiencies that will enable us to continue delivering an exceptional customer experience.’