MTN Group outlined plans to deploy 5,000 sites across its network using OpenRAN, as traction around the technology grows.

In a statement, MTN said it has already deployed 200 commercial rural sites across its footprint, using OpenRAN technology, which will grow to more than 5,000 across its 21 operations. The solutions will help the African operator deliver 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity simultaneously in unconnected areas, highlighting the technology’s low deployment and maintenance costs compared with traditional hardware.

The company added it has struck partnerships with Parallel Wireless, Vanu and NuRAN Wireless to help deliver the technology.

Dirk Karl, chief procurement officer at MTN, said the company had conducted trials of OpenRAN in Zambia since 2018.

“Our team has steadily been focused on creating viable RAN solutions alongside the traditional deployments of network technology suppliers in order to accelerate the rural expansion in our markets.”

OpenRAN hype
MTN’s announcement comes hot on the heels of Vodafone Group outlining plans at Facebook’s TIP Summit 2019 to hold a tender open to OpenRAN technology vendors, covering its entire European footprint.

US operator Sprint also announced it would open three new TIP community labs, to boost its efforts around the technology.

OpenRAN, an initiative of Facebook’s Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), aims to offer an alternative to traditional networks by promoting a software-based approach using common hardware.