Ericsson and mobile operator MTN Ghana, have successfully trialled UMTS 900 MHz for the first time on the African continent, aiming at further extending mobile broadband coverage up to 200 km in suburban, rural and offshore areas.
The network will complement the existing UTMS 2100 MHz in urban areas for improved network capacity and better mobile broadband coverage. The agreement makes Ericsson responsible for access, transport and transmission of 3G UMTS 900 MHz, with roll-out beginning in the second quarter of 2010.
The trial was completed with legacy 3G RBS 3418 main-remote equipment, previously installed by MTN Ghana.
“By leveraging off their existing installed Ericsson 3G Radio Access Network and enabling UMTS in 900 MHz, not only can voice, video and high speed data calls be carried over the network, but operators benefit from having one network delivering all services with the lowest total cost of ownership”, commented Lars Lindén, President Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa.
A GSMA report shows that UMTS 900 increases the coverage per Node-B between 44% (in urban areas) and 119% (rural areas), compared to UMTS 2100.
Ericsson has already deployed 3.5G mobile communications and Internet access to rural Ghana, in partnership with the country’s operator MTN.
MTN Ghana CTO, Eben Albertyn, said the operator will “continue to grow our network coverage locally as well as into many rural and remote sites – bringing voice and data services to our growing subscribers”.
Ericsson is a leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators, including 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies. The company’s portfolio comprises of mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.
MTN is one of the major telecommunications companies in Africa and the Middle East with operations in 21 countries. MTN entered the Ghanaian market in 2006, after acquiring Investcom.
MTN is also the leading mobile operator in Ghana, with a market share of 55% and active subscriber base of over 7 million. The operator covers over 80% of the Ghanaian population, including ten regional capitals as well as many rural and remote sites. MTN Ghana offers prepaid, post-paid voice and data services and recently rolled out its 3.5G network in the country.