Ericsson has signed a multi-year agreement with Safaricom, Kenya's largest mobile operator, to support the upgrade and expansion of its converged mobile network infrastructure.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will deploy Wi-Fi technology for the first time on the Safaricom network, as well as expand and enhance the MINI-LINK microwave transmission network. The company says this will enable subscribers to enjoy a richer quality of mobile broadband in Kenya.
Deployment of the Wi-Fi solution will enable Safaricom to optimise its use of spectrum resources while enhancing 3G services, and boosting broadband app coverage for customers in selected densely populated areas.
Ericsson's MINI-LINK microwave products and IP portfolio will enable Safaricom to seamlessly migrate to an all-IP transmission network that supports coming technologies and Safaricom's five-year network evolution strategy. The Ericsson SSR 8000 family also provides Safaricom with a highly scalable, consolidated platform for both fixed and mobile services for IP/MPLS routing.
Thibaud Rerolle, director, Technology, Safaricom, said: ‘As we move into an era where the customer experience is re-defining our networks, this development will place us in an optimal position to continue to grow our data footprint, especially in heavily populated areas such as the CBD, in the most cost-efficient manner.’
Ericsson's microwave transmission includes MINI-LINK TN, LH and PT, which support capacity growth and the use of new frequency bands such as V and E bands. It transports voice and data traffic from the radio access to the core network, enhancing the capacity of the mobile transmission network to cope with increased traffic in the radio network.
The Wi-Fi solution, comprised of Ericsson Wi-Fi Access Points and Ericsson Wi-Fi Manager (Ericsson's Wi-Fi Network Management software solution), will complement the data services provided by the existing 3G network and ease the load on the 3G resources through traffic offload to Wi-Fi in selected areas.
In addition, the Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) based on SSR 8010 is deployed by the service provider as the first aggregation point in the carrier grade Wi-Fi network.