Alliance formed to connect off-grid villages in Africa

Alliance formed to connect off-grid villages in Africa

Africa Mobile Networks and Vanu plan to support MNOs with mobile comms services.

Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) and MNO-focused IT equipment supplier Vanu, Inc. have entered into an agreement to deliver mobile communication services to off-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the agreement Vanu will supply mobile network infrastructure (including low TCO cell sites, mapping tools and network planning tools - as well as monitoring, optimisation and support services) to support AMN's mission to serve the region's rural communities.

Vanu and AMN aim to provide MNOs with a capital expenditure-free path to a fully-connected Africa and have already collaborated to provide coverage for approximately 1.1 million previously unserved people.

"While mobile network operators have significantly increased coverage in recent years, off-grid markets present unique challenges that have left 1.2 billion people without coverage," said Andrew Beard, chief executive officer of Vanu, Inc.

AMN said it aims to build mobile network base stations serving rural communities which have no existing service.

Michael Darcy, AMN chief executive officer added: "The locations we operate are very challenging and we need solutions that reflect the unique requirements of our market. Using Vanu equipment and working together with Vanu's team, AMN has been able to create cost-effective solutions that (it) uses to increase subscribers, revenue and profit for our MNO customers."

The partners are leveraging on small-cell network architectures powered by solar energy to extend service to the unconnected.