Access and Athonet build Malawi’s first LTE wireless network

Athonet’s PriMo LTE Virtual Enhanced Packet Core offering provides cost effective and easily deployed mobile infrastructure

Access and Athonet build Malawi’s first LTE wireless network

Mobile operator Access Communications and Italian mobile infrastructure firm Athonet have deployed the first 4G LTE network in Malawi. Access approached Athonet with the challenge to implement an LTE network, the first in the country, in a matter of weeks to enable Access to launch its latest generation broadband wireless service.

The network had to be scalable nationwide, very cost-efficient, IT-friendly and simple to integrate with Access’ existing infrastructure, including its CDMA network. Leveraging its future-proof PriMo LTE Virtual Enhanced Packet Core (EPC), Athonet successfully delivered the complete mobile infrastructure, which has enabled Access to provide the first LTE service in Malawi in record time.

Leveraging Athonet’s technology, an LTE ultra-broadband network has been implemented covering Blantyre’s business district, ensuring data, live video and voice services with very low latency. The initial service offering has been oriented towards clients that require high-speed Internet access and voice services, evolving to cover larger areas of the country and consumer needs.

Such a rapid and cost-effective rollout was possible thanks to:

• Athonet’s distributed LTE Virtual Mobile Core Network (EPC) which runs on standard IT servers or in the cloud and provides guaranteed very low latency, highly reliable ultra-broadband service in a cost-effective manner using a fully virtualised software approach
• Access’ longstanding experience in rolling out mobile and IP networks and serving Internet-hungry mobile customers in a cost-effective manner
• Athonet’s experience in integrating complete end-to-end networks.

“Provision of cost effective scalable data and voice services by the telecommunications sector is directly linked to increased GDP,” said Faizal Okhai, chief executive officer at Access. “We feel that the introduction of 4G LTE services in Malawi will serve a latent demand for high quality ultra-broadband Internet for corporate and individual consumers.”

“Internet can be a fundamental driver for growth in Africa and we are proud to be Access’ partner in making ultra-broadband Internet accessible to businesses and consumers in Malawi,” said Massimiliano Gianesin, head of operations at Athonet.

“Our software approach to infrastructure means that mobile networks in developing countries can be deployed very rapidly and cost-effectively, both in terms of CAPEX and OPEX, avoiding the complexity of legacy products and simplifying operations.”

Athonet believes that in a country with a very low rate of Internet access and where broadband is rare, such an innovative mobile broadband service represents an excellent case study which could be replicated in other countries as a remedy for digital divide complexities.


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