MTN to add 5,000 rural sites based on TIP

MTN taps TIP's Open RAN for low cost 2/3/4G base stations to support rural expansion programme.

African operator MTN has said it will roll out 5,000 new rural cell sites, by the end of 2020, based on “Open RAN” technology across all its 21 areas of operation.

The operator said it already has 200 live sites based on specifications outlined by the Telecoms Infra Project (TIP), and said it would use “an ecosystem of partners” to achieve its planned expansion. It said it had already used technology from Parallel Wireless, NuRAN Wireless and VANU in projects in Uganda and Guinea Conakry.

A Parallel Wireless spokesperson told TMN that the company believes it is in line to be the supplier for about 3,300 of those sites – mainly the macro sites that have a requirement for providing 2/3G coverage on the same hardware.

MTN is a member of TIP’s Open RAN project that defines the operation of disaggregated RAN elements as software on hardware using general purpose processors.

Parallel Wireless’ spokesperson said that the contract process will see each of MTN’s 21 operating companies contract for equipment via a systems integrator.

NuRAN said that it would be working with Raenna Nigeria, a company that provides telco infrastructure on a wholesale basis to operators.