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Ericsson signs key deals to connect Sub-Saharan Africa

By , Senior news journalist
Africa , 19 Nov 2020
Fadi Pharaon, Ericsson senior VP for Middle East and Africa.
Fadi Pharaon, Ericsson senior VP for Middle East and Africa.

Buoyed by a series of signed contracts, Ericsson says it has seen strong demand for its services in Sub-Saharan Africa, signalling rapid growth of mobile connectivity across the region, as consumer demand for enhanced mobile services increases.

The company says a slew of recent wins for Ericsson highlight the company’s growing footprint in the region as service providers strengthen their networks to meet growing demand from consumers and enterprises.

Ericsson says it signed a series of contracts in Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar and Benin, among others, which it says highlights its growing footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It notes the latest data shows Africa is one of the fastest-growing mobile markets and the need for more effective technology, higher data speeds and availability of ample spectrum is evident.

According to the June edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow 12-fold by 2025. Mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to account for 72% of all mobile subscriptions in the same year, with LTE subscriptions estimated to triple and top 270 million.

Earlier this year, MTN Benin extended its long-term relationship with Ericsson to provide managed services, including a network operations centre, and field services in radio, core and transmission in Benin.

Under the agreement, the future capabilities of efficiencies, automation and data will enable MTN Benin and Ericsson to jointly create predictive operations with a focus on customer experience, network quality, performance and automation.

In June, Telma Madagascar switched on its 5G commercial network – powered by Ericsson – to offer subscribers high-speed services enabled by the new generation of mobile connectivity.

Locally, MTN SA went live with commercial 5G in Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth on 30 June.

Ericsson was announced as a vendor in November 2019, to deploy products and solutions spanning its radio access network (RAN) Ericsson Radio System, transport and 5G core network portfolios. Ericsson will also deploy Ericsson Spectrum Sharing.

In October this year, Airtel Africa expanded its partnership with Ericsson to enable 4G coverage in Kenya. The company says with Ericsson’s RAN and packet core products for 4G, Airtel subscribers will experience enhanced quality of voice and data.

Commenting on the latest developments, Fadi Pharaon, president of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Technology brings an unprecedented opportunity to address the challenges of sustainable economic development and improve the livelihood of people in Africa.

“Mobile and fixed networks are key components of critical national infrastructure to sustain and evolve emerging economies during remote work times.”

Additionally, Ericsson says it committed to supporting sustainability across Africa.

In October 2020, it was announced that Ericsson’s IOT Accelerator will power Telenor Connexion's global connectivity to Wayout's sustainable water treatment micro-factories, starting in East Africa.

This will expand to the Middle East, Asia Pacific and other markets in 2021.

Wayout has engineered plug-and-play micro-factories for local production of clean, filtered water, with minimal environmental footprint. Powered by solar panels, the micro-factories offer an advanced water purification system.

October 2020 also saw Airtel Zambia announce a partnership with Ericsson on a ‘product take-back’ programme, to minimise the potential environmental impact when disposing of decommissioned electrical equipment.

The initiative is part of Ericsson’s sustainability efforts geared towards taking accountability for environmental impacts of all products and services during their lifecycle. It ensures end-of-life material is treated and recycled in an environmentally responsible manner.

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