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MTN Group and Rakuten Symphony have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct live 4G and 5G OpenRAN Proof of Concept (PoC) trials in South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia based on Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).

 

A report by Africa Business Communities said the trials, which will begin this year, combined RCP OpenRAN technology with upgraded automation and autonomous network capacities with one of Africa’s top brownfield operators.

 

“We are pleased to announce our partnership with Rakuten Symphony to deploy live 4G and 5G OpenRAN trials across South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia. In

Iyayiline with our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, we are committed to actively driving the rapid expansion of affordable 4G and 5G coverage across markets in Africa,” stated Mazen Mroue, MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Systems Officer.

“We have announced our support towards the deployment of OpenRAN technology in 2021 to modernise our radio access network footprint. Through this partnership we hope to target innovation and cost efficiencies that will enable us to continue delivering an exceptional customer experience,” Mazen added.

The solutions, presently installed by Rakuten Mobile in Japan, include cloud orchestration, Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and automation of radio site commissioning and network integration.

 

“We’re excited to take this next step in our partnership with MTN,” said Rabih Dabboussi, Chief Revenue Officer of Rakuten Symphony.

“This PoC will demonstrate how one of the world’s top-tier brownfield mobile operators can utilise Rakuten Symphony’s network automation and orchestration solutions for cost-effective network transformation and timely deployment of next-generation network services to their customers across Africa,” Rabih said.

Rakuten Mobile has set multiple industry landmarks with its full-scale start of commercial services on the world’s first fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network*1 in 2020, and Rakuten Symphony, began in 2021, is now bringing that technology to operators globally. Rakuten Symphony brings together Rakuten’s telco products, services, and solutions under a single global banner to offer 4G and 5G infrastructure and platform solutions to customers worldwide.

 

In line with MTN Group’s Ambition 2025 plan of leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress, this MoU will allows the start of new services more rapidly, cost-effectively and consistently.

MTN and Rakuten Symphony will be joining forces with Accenture and Tech Mahindra to run the trials in South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia.

Communications Media and Technology Lead for Africa, Nitesh Singh, said: “As one of the leading professional services firms in technology and networks in particular it is an exciting time in the industry for all parties on the OpenRan journey. In line with MTN Group’s Ambition 2025 of leading digital solutions for Africa, we are excited to be part of the partnership with both Rakuten and MTN to ultimately pass these benefits on to MTN’s consumers in the market.”

President of Communication, Media and Entertainment (CME) and Chief Executive of Network Services in Tech Mahindra, Manish Vyas, stated: “Communication Service Providers today are increasingly focused on 5G network modernisation. As a leading provider of networks of the future.

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