Nokia has enabled ultra-fast 5G services for Vodacom South Africa’s customers by deploying its 5G radio, core and fixed network solutions across Vodacom’s network. Vodacom is using Nokia’s 2G, 3G, 4G and fibre access networks, as well as 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) and mobile broadband services.
Nokia is supplying its AirScale, Fastmile and Subscriber Data Management (SDM) / Home Subscriber Server (HSS) products to Vodacom to enhance its service offering and deliver increased operational efficiencies.
Nokia’s AirScale radio network product portfolio will enable Vodacom to deploy 5G services across several spectrum bands, including the new 3500 MHz, 2600 MHz and 700/800 MHz bands which will be auctioned by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) before the end of March 2021. It will help to manage the increased demand for data services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 5G network rollout is in line with South Africa’s broadband policy of building infrastructure by 2030 for an inclusive knowledge economy which supports the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Vodacom will also use Nokia’s FastMile 5G gateway to offer FWA broadband services in areas not currently served by a fibre network. The solution is easy for subscribers to install, delivering fibre like speeds to homes while using Wi-Fi to connect devices within the home. Vodacom is also using Nokia’s mesh Wi-Fi solution, which improves user experience by creating a seamless Wi-Fi coverage area while reducing the time and complexity required to install and manage the WiFi network.
Nokia’s cloud-based SDM software and HSS will be rolled out to securely manage subscriber data and services in a centralized hub. Vodacom South Africa will also utilize Nokia’s NetAct network management system, which is cloud-agnostic and meets customer demands for software-only delivery. It can be deployed on the same data center platforms as existing IT and network systems for increased agility and lower operational costs.
Beverly Ngwenya, Technology Director at Vodacom South Africa, said: “We are committed to providing the most innovative products and highest quality service to our subscribers. 5G technology allows us to deliver ultra-fast mobile networks and support entirely new use cases as we move into the 4IR era. Nokia has been our network partner for more than two decades, and its latest technology solutions are now helping us to deliver superior 5G services.”
Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “Our AirScale 5G and Fastmile fixed wireless access portfolio helps service providers across the globe to build robust and reliable networks to address the growing demand for high-speed broadband services. From our 26-year relationship with Vodacom we understand that South Africa is a highly competitive market, with end-users expecting continent-leading services and applications. We are proud to have successfully executed this important network deployment, enabling Vodacom to deliver those sought-after broadband capabilities.”
Nigerian Active Phones Tops 209m￼
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta disclosed this while delivering the Keynote Address at the dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, NMMA, to flag-off the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of NMMA as Africa’s foremost media excellence recognition institution, at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel on Tuesday night.
“This represents a teledensity of 109.47%. Besides, basic Internet subscriptions have also grown from zero in the pre-liberalisation era to over 152 million. It is also gratifying that the broadband subscriptions now stand at 85 million, representing a 44.49% penetration,” Danbatta said.
Dwelling on the topic, “The NCC New Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2021-2025: A Transformation Agenda”,which signposts thedirection of the Nigerian telecom industry in the next five years,Danbatta recalled the trajectory of the evolution of telecoms in Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, the CEO of NCC, he recalled the nation’s showing of a paltry 18,724 telephone lines at independence in 1960 to serve a population of 40 million people, translating to a teledensity of 0.5 at that time.
Today, “the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 18.44 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022. From this figure, telecommunications sector alone contributed 15 per cent,” Danbatta said to place on record the unprecedented contribution of the telecom and ICT industry to GDP.
3.2 billion People Lack Broadband Internet -GSMA
Around 3.2 billion people who are covered by networks are still unable to reap the benefits of this connectivity, due to lack of skills, knowledge, affordability, relevant content and other factors, a report has revealed.
The Seventh Annual GSMA SDG Impact Report, released on Wednesday, showed that, six years after becoming the first industry to commit to the SDGs, the mobile sector continues to increase its contribution to the achievement of all 17 goals; however, despite mobile operators’ continued commitment to the 2030 agenda there is still a long way to go.
A combination of global conflict, growing food and energy poverty, economic uncertainty, and the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 are creating significant headwinds, currently threatening SDG progress worldwide. In the face of these challenges, the report highlights the crucial role mobile connectivity and connected technologies can play as enablers, supporting countries as they ‘build forward better’ in pursuit of economic recovery and resilience.
The report demonstrates that those without access, in contrast, are most vulnerable to economic and social disruption, and risk falling further behind as the world emerges from the pandemic, especially as online services become even more integral to society.
FG And MTN Collaboration Critical In Achieving 70% Internet Penetration By 2025 – Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka￼
Nigeria is poised to achieve a 70 percent internet penetration in urban and rural areas by 2025 as desired by the Federal Government if tactical collaborations between the private sector and the public sector are effectively utilised.
This was stated by the General Manager for Fixed Broadband at MTN, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, in a recent interview with Arise TV on broadband connectivity in Africa’s most populous nation.
The Federal Government’s Broadband plan further specified the kind of internet speeds expected for both urban and rural areas; 25mbps and 10mbps respectively.
Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, noted that MTN Group’s Strategic Ambition 2025 is in close alignment with the Federal Government’s broadband targets. According to her, the technology provider’s intent is to deliver the right level of effective digital solutions to power Africa’s growth.
For Nigeria to achieve its goal of a globally recognised digital economy, Ikenna-Emeka, an internet connectivity expert, believes that the nation will require concerted efforts by the Federal Government, public and private stakeholders to boost broadband penetration. Ikenna-Emeka expresses optimism that with existing and new policies, the country is on the right path.
“When we look back at 2012 when we had just about 6 per cent internet penetration to where we are today, there is a significant improvement. As of the end of May this year, we had about 43.6 percent penetration. That is quite encouraging,” she says.
“A lot of work is still being done by the Federal Government and organisations like MTN to achieve the right levels of broadband penetration. The journey has already started and further collaborations will help us to get better.”
To improve internet connectivity in their locality, more than a dozen African countries have tested or are planning to roll out the 5G network in the next few years. The next-gen network is predicted to contribute an additional $2.2 trillion to Africa’s economy by 2034. MTN, demonstrating its commitment to providing quality internet access to Nigerians, has laid the groundwork to provide the 5G service in several parts of the country in the coming months.
Enunciating MTN’s role as a driver of quality network across the country, Ikenna-Emeka says “Today, what is most prevalent is the fixed wireless access and that is the technology that is being adopted by all operators globally. That’s what we want to scale and accelerate in our drive to achieve broadband penetration.
“We’re very shortly going to launch the 5G technology. There is also a lot of progress we’ve made in fibre optics which is another prevalent technology. This, along with the 3G, 4G, and 5G networks will provide us with the ability to serve more market segments and more different sectors.”
The internet connectivity specialist further expounds that continued acceleration of internet access and the ability to adapt and expand on new technologies will bolster broadband connectivity that would match Nigeria’s growing population.
On the challenges of expanding internet connectivity in unconnected areas in the country, she says “Recently, we have received some legislation from the Federal Government to improve internet access in the rural or less connected states and that is critical in driving broadband penetration and connectivity.”
“One of the ways we are driving that penetration as a telco is by ensuring that we leverage on our mix of technologies. We currently have access to 3G, 4G, and coming soon, the 5G. And we are going to utilise this mix of technologies to deliver fit-for-purpose connectivity in different areas in Nigeria,” she adds.
Recently, international companies like Meta and Starlink have begun to adopt satellites in providing internet connectivity, and Africa has been encouraged to adopt similar technological measures to boost its developing digital landscape.
Ikenna-Emeka expresses belief that it speaks to the need for increased collaboration to drive penetration.
“It is quite interesting and speaks to the localisation of global trends – global digital transformation initiative. It’s a welcome development because to achieve the levels of penetration that we require, both at urban and rural levels, and to ride on the right levels of partnerships and collaborations, we will be requiring a mix of technologies. We look forward to seeing how that plays out in the future,” she says.
MTN Nigeria recently launched its home broadband services tailored to provide fast and reliable internet access in homes across Nigeria. With the imminent commercial deployment of the 5G network, Nigeria will be hoping to expand its internet penetration and connectivity to achieve its ambition of a near-perfect digital economy in the next three years.
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