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Parallel Wireless backs MTN's OpenRAN Africa plan

Parallel Wireless backs MTN's OpenRAN Africa plan

US-based OpenRAN company Parallel Wireless announced that MTN is set to deploy more than 5,000 sites across their 21 operations, bringing 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity using Parallel Wireless OpenRAN into areas that were previously unconnected.

According to Parallel Wireless, Africa is the most digitally divided continent with only 44% unique mobile users. Traditional 2G, 3G or 4G networks require expensive and bulky equipment for their deployment and operation. These hardware-based networks are difficult and pricey to upgrade.

The company enables el Wireless enables a shift to open, software-based, and virtualised OpenRAN network architectures to overcome these deployment challenges, while also delivering network agility and much lower deployment and maintenance cost.

The companies say the multi-technology software-defined GPP-based base stations allows MTN to deploy 2G systems with fully virtualised 2G technology and to run simultaneously 2G, 3G and 4G on the same base station to provide commercial data and voice services to MTN's customers across Africa, in urban and rural parts of the country.

Multi-technology RRUs are software-defined, easy to deploy and maintain, and are software upgradable to 5G.

Parallel Wireless explains that OpenRAN Controller is the industry only software platform that virtualises ALL G RAN and core functions (i.e., vBSC for 2G, vRNC for 3G, small cell and core gateways for 4G) to lower the cost of RAN through simplification, automation via real-time SON, and full virtualization of networks.

It also provides seamless mobility, local breakout, and low latency for the best subscriber experience for MTN's customers. The software enables an OpenRAN architecture by using standard-based and open interfaces between network components and as a result, enables an OpenRAN ecosystem.

It also simplifies network management and integration of new RAN products into the core of the network through its automation layer and enables a clear and cost-effective technology evolution.

Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and CEO, said, "Our Group Technology team has been pioneering OpenRAN, concluding field trials in Zambia in 2018 and deploying commercial sites from the beginning of 2019. We focus on creating viable new RAN solutions alongside the traditional deployments of network technology suppliers in order to accelerate the rural expansion in our markets."

Christoph Fitih, Sales Director, Africa, Parallel Wireless, said, "As one of the innovative communication providers, MTN understands the true potential of improving coverage by embracing new network architectures, such as OpenRAN. We are proud to have partnered with MTN for these deployments to be able to connect the previously unconnected without making extensive capital investments associated with legacy network deployments. By shifting networks to virtualized OpenRAN, MTN can cloudify their networks to deliver coverage to every single subscriber at much lower cost. Low-cost wireless coverage will fuel economic growth, improve infrastructure, and reduce costs for consumers ensuring access to connectivity with the best technology and leaving nobody behind."

Lux Maharaj, Director, Africa Sales Parallel Wireless, said, "We are committed to our role in innovating in the OpenRAN ecosystem to help MTN bridge the digital divide across Africa. By decoupling the programmable RAN software from the hardware and allowing it to run on general-purpose processing platforms, Parallel Wireless enables cloud-native architectures, providing greater flexibility for MTN. As a result, the costs associated with building 2G 3G 4G mobile networks are reduced and connectivity can be brought to every single person across the African continent. We are proud to support MTN in reimagining wireless infrastructure to be much lower cost ensuring more equal access to connectivity."

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