MTN-SA said yesterday that it had identified major routes for network optimisation for the upcoming holiday season. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
MTN-SA said yesterday that it had identified major routes for network optimisation for the upcoming holiday season. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

MTN-SA to optimise network over festive season

By Given Majola Time of article published Dec 15, 2020

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DURBAN - Telecoms company MTN-SA said yesterday that it had identified major routes for network optimisation for the upcoming holiday season.

MTN Network Operations general manager Ernest Paul said in an interview, over the festive season new base stations and technology upgrades would be deployed at selected 3G and LTE stations.

“With major investment already made into strengthening and protecting network infrastructure during 2020, MTN South Africa is again putting optimisation plans in place to ensure stability and high-quality network connectivity during the festive season – and working on strategies to enhance performance even further in 2021. Mobile base stations will also be deployed as required, where demand exceeds capacity,” said Paul.

MTN’s third-quarter results, released last month, were strong due to the performance of its larger operations in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, and good group-wide growth in subscriber numbers despite challenging trading conditions.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to impact lives and livelihoods across our markets, the group has demonstrated strong operational execution and resilience,” said MTN Group president and chief executive Ralph Mupita at the time.

MTN-SA strengthened and and improved the protection of network infrastructure this year. | Bongani Mbatha African News Agency(ANA)

For the new year, the company said it planned to continue the RAN/IP/TX modernisation programmes, participate in the high demand spectrum auction, put more focus on the newly established mobile virtual network operator division and ramping up 5G deployment if successful in the auction.

“The over-arching drive is to deliver a €1 billion investment in the entire network,” said Paul.

“At MTN, it all starts with the network and there are no shortcuts to a best network that is future-fit, it will require us to continue to invest so we are prepared for 5G, 4IR and the long 15-year wait for additional spectrum.”

MTN said with Covid-19 increasing the demand for network services, the company’s network managed to accommodate "an unprecedented“ 60 percent rise in traffic during the lockdown, while optimising against load-shedding and power reductions at the same time.

Paul said while the much-needed spectrum auction was delayed again, temporary spectrum was harnessed successfully to fill the void through the deployment of 4G and 5G technologies in 700/800, 2.6 and 3.5GHz bands.

He said the firm’s highlights during the year were the launch of MTN’s 5G network in June and the implementation of a new 360 Plan Security Model, which led to a significant 49 percent reduction in battery-related theft and vandalism incidents from the previous year.

The implementation of the new 360 Plan Security Model, supported by its 10 Pillar approach, saw MTN hit back seeing recorded incidents going from 2 195 in 2019 to 1 115 to date in 2020.

“This reduction of incidents resulted in a 45 percent reduction in actual batteries losses over the year, from 13,066 to 7,150 from 2019 to 2020, respectively, “ he said.

The company said this vandalism was not only disruptive, but also undermined ongoing initiatives to attract investment into South Africa to create much-needed employment opportunities.

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