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MTN, Huawei lay out NB-IoT Africa deployment strategy

MTN, Huawei lay out NB-IoT Africa deployment strategy

MTN and Huawei have announced launch dates for Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solutions, showcased at AfricaCom in Cape Town this week, and the technology will be rolled out in phases in the years leading up to 2020.

The Low Power Wide Area technology will first see its first African launch in South Africa next year before it is rolled out in Nigeria by the end of 2018.

Alpheus Mangale, Chief Enterprise Business Officer at MTN South Africa, elaborated on the deployment strategy of NB-IoT, as the mobile operator and Huawei highlighted efficiencies that can result from utilisation of the technology which connects objects requiring a long battery life and located in hard to reach areas to the Internet through mobile connectivity.

"In Africa, around 60 million IoT devices are connected today. These connections are found across different industries including mining, financial services, automotive industry, connected homes and even government. The prediction by GSMA is that 450 million homes will be connected around the world by 2020. We conducted a number of pilot sites, along with Huawei, at our sites in Gauteng. We looked at smart metering, connected fridges ... but our intention is to roll out this service in South Africa in 2017 where we can actually partner with utility companies in the country to look after the scarce resource of water by reducing leakages in the environment and that users don't get overbilled. We also plan to do the deployment in Nigeria and Iran and then across all the other markets where we are present."

Launches in SA and Nigeria will be followed by Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia throughout 2019. Mangale says use cases will include wildlife tracking, logistics and farming.

Michael Ma, President of Huawei Cloud Core product says Huawei and MTN will invest in building a connected Africa in order improve industry efficiency over the next few years through NB-IoT.

"We are very pleased to announce our strategic cooperation with MTN in IoT field. Huawei and MTN showcased solutions based on our OceanConnect IoT platform and partner ecosystem as well as NB-IoT wireless technology at AfricaCom that enables MTN to develop vertical industry applications for Usage Based Insurance, Smart Refrigeration for commercial bottling market, and smart Water Metering. We look forward to continuing close relationship with MTN to bring more IoT services to Africa."

Huawei has also revealed that its LTE-based NB-IoT technology will also be made available to other telecom operators in the region for the delivery of ubiquitous, cellular IoT.


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