MTN Nigeria and Huawei are stepping into territories that many operators dread a lot, largely for fear of inability to recoup investments.
The duo just announced the completion of the commercial deployment of the much-anticipated solution providing low-cost long-distance voice and mobile broadband services for remote local rural areas.
The RuralStar 2.0 solution helps link previously unconnected communities.
Most times, operators have pointed at harsh business environment and the low spending power of rural dwellers as major obstacles to deploying services at those areas.
A recent study by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) shows there are over 200 areas without internet connectivity in Nigeria.
Voice and data traffic of new deployed RuralStar 2.0 sites exceed expectation, revealing the enormous telecommunication demand in rural Nigeria.
The West African country has a population of 180 million. More than half of them live in rural villages, which are typically scattered around vast grasslands or forests.
The mobile signal coverage is poor and many people cannot enjoy the convenience of modern mobile communication. Some villagers have to walk lengthy distances to make a call in the town.
“Everyone has the right to access the internet. We are glad to see RuralStar improves villagers’ living standard,” Vice President of Huawei Wireless Network Product Line, Cao Ming.
He said RuralStar aimed to create a healthy business ecosystem and connect the unconnected in emerging markets.
“Huawei will work with the industry to eliminate the digital divide in emerging markets so that more people can enjoy the convenience brought by wireless communications and mobile Internet.”
MTN and Huawei jointly innovated and introduced Huawei’s RuralStar 2.0 solution to reduces the total cost of ownership by 50 percent for a given target coverage area in contrast with traditional site solutions.
Using low-band Non Line Of Sight Wireless Long Ternm Evolution (NLOS LTE) Relay, it allows site deployment locations to change from high towers to low poles with a height of only 12 metres. This reduces the site infrastructure construction cost by 70 percent.
In addition, low-band LTE Relay allows for the single-hop transmission distance of up to 40 km, and therefore can be used as a substitute for microwave transmission and costly traditional satellite narrowband transmission.
RuralStar 2.0 uses low power consumption equipment enabling pure solar energy for the power supply.