The pilots will take place in South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia
Africa’s largest operator group, MTN Group and Rakuten Symphony signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct live 4G and 5G Open RAN proofs of concept (PoC) in South Africa, Nigeria and Liberia.
The trials will start this year and be based on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP) which underpins deployment of cloud-native network services, with high levels of automation and autonomous network capabilities.
The RCP was developed and is deployed in Japan, by Rakuten Mobile, and has garnered interest among other operators. The platform includes cloud orchestration, zero-touch provisioning and automates the commissioning of radio sites and network integration.
Mazen Mroue, MTN Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, said, “We have announced our support towards the deployment of Open RAN technology in 2021 to modernize 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.”
Rabih Dabboussi, Chief Revenue Officer of Rakuten Symphony, added, “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.”