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Etisalat to test out 'ALL G' OpenRAN across markets in Africa

By , ITWeb
Africa , 19 Feb 2020

Etisalat to test out 'ALL G' OpenRAN across markets in Africa

US-based OpenRAN company Parallel Wireless has announced that telecommunications firm Etisalat Group is set to trial 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G OpenRAN across its markets in Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Parallel Wireless says it enables a shift to open, software-based, and virtualised OpenRAN network architectures "to overcome deployment and cost challenges, while also delivering network agility and much lower deployment and maintenance cost."

The company explains that its cloud-native and software-based OpenRAN approach across 'ALL G' significantly improves network economics by converging 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G on to one unified software platform that is easy to manage.

"This eliminates the need to maintain siloed legacy networks dedicated to just one G service resulting in the OPEX cost reduction to maintain networks," the company affirms.

In a statement Etisalat Group confirms its objective to achieve digital transformation with the deployment of 'best-in-class technologies' to support 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G connectivity.

Parallel Wireless adds: "By decoupling the programmable RAN software from the hardware and allowing it to run on general-purpose processing platforms, the multi-technology software-defined GPP-based OpenRAN base stations will allow Etisalat to deploy ALL G systems with fully virtualised 2G, 3G 4G technology that is software upgradable to 5G. Etisalat can run simultaneously 2G, 3G and 4G on the same base station to provide commercial data and voice services to Etisalat's customers, in urban and rural scenarios. Multi-technology RRUs are software-defined and can utilise any 3GPP-compliant RAN split to connect to any COTS vBBU enabling vendor interoperability and supplier cost reduction even further."

Hatem Bamatraf, chief technology officer at Etisalat International, says, "The global trials of OpenRAN with Parallel Wireless reiterate Etisalat's commitment to our vision encouraging us to take the lead in OpenRAN by conducting field trials with various leading technology partners to create an innovative ecosystem in all of our markets. This is also the world's first 'ALL G' OpenRAN set to provide efficiency and cost benefits for 4G and 5G in addition to setting a roadmap for the next generation of telecom networks."

Amrit Heer, Sales Director, MENA, Parallel Wireless, says, "As one of the leading communication providers in the emerging markets, Etisalat understands the true potential of greater leverage to their business, in both high end and low-end markets with a greater buying power by shaping the telecom ecosystem and embracing new network architectures, such as OpenRAN. We are proud to have partnered with Etisalat for these engagements to deliver coverage and capacity without making extensive capital investments associated with legacy network deployments. We are proud to have been selected to support Etisalat in reimagining wireless infrastructure to be much lower cost ensuring access to innovative digital services in the region."

OpenRAN in Africa

In November 2019 Parallel Wireless announced that MTN would deploy over 5,000 sites across its 21 operations, bringing in additional 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity.

At the time, Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and chief executive officer 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."

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