MTN focused on 5G use cases relevant in South Africa

Ericsson has been selected by South African operator MTN as a 5G network modernization vendor, the former said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will supply 5G products and solutions from its Radio Access Network (RAN), transport and Core portfolios, with commercial rollout expected to start next year.

As part of its transformation strategy, MTN South Africa is upgrading its core network to support 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture.

MTN is planning 5G commercialization between 2020 and 2022, with a focus on use cases and applications relevant in the South African context. These include: Enhanced Mobile Broadband, Fixed Wireless Access, and the Internet of Things (IoT). MTN and Ericsson are working together to identify and develop 5G use cases and applications that will contribute to the digital transformation of industry verticals, the vendor said.

Ericsson has been also selected to modernize MTN South Africa’s existing LTE and legacy radio access networks as part of a three-year deal signed earlier this year.

MTN is using 5G New Radios (5G NR), basebands, and MINI-LINK microwave transmission products from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio to enhance network quality and user experiences for the company’s 30 million customers. Ericsson has also provided MTN with an Ericsson Cloud Core network, including 5G Evolved Packet Core (5G EPC) and User Data Management (UDM).

Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer, MTN South Africa, said: “South Africa is undergoing a huge digital transformation, which will open up new business opportunities and boost the nation’s economy. To enable and speed up this process, MTN, with Ericsson as our partner, is rapidly upgrading our network to deliver the quality, capacity, and overall network performance that our enterprise and customers demand. Launching 5G will accomplish this transformation and, with fixed wireless access, will ensure high quality, increased capacity, and greater reliability for our customers.”

Nicolas Blixell, Vice President, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “With this deal MTN South Africa will be one of the true 5G pioneers in Africa. We will work closely with them, just as we have done with other generations of technology, to bring the benefits of 5G to them and their customers. 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.”

Ericsson said it currently has more than 70 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique communication service providers, of which 23 are live networks.

Earlier this week, MTN South Africa and Huawei have carried out a 5G trial during the AfricaCom event, South African press reported.

The demo runs on test spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, which is also called the C-Band. The Chinese vendor said that its previous demonstrations with MTN used spectrum in the 28GHz band.

MTN said that the demo uses real 5G non-standalone equipment, and is connected to its live core network in Cape Town.


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