Airtel Nigeria, Ericsson drive broadband for everyone

In the second half of 2015, Nigeria was among the top five countries worldwide in terms of mobile subscription additions, and Nigerian businesses are increasingly adopting mobile-first strategies.

In fact, 83 percent of mobile phone subscribers in Nigeria rely solely on their mobile device for their internet connectivity (source: Ericsson Mobility Report Sub-Saharan Africa Nov. 2015).

To address this growing demand and increase access to affordable mobile broadband Internet service, Airtel Nigeria and Ericsson are rolling out the award-winning Ericsson Radio System in sites across the country.

Ericsson Radio System’s multi-standard platform enables Airtel Nigeria to cost-effectively leverage the reach, maturity and increasing affordability of today’s 3G technology, while laying the foundation for their 4G and 5G evolution.

The network-wide solution incorporates a broad range of products including: radio, baseband, small cells, backhaul, fronthaul, enclosures, power site equipment and the controller. These products are augmented through twice-yearly network software updates, and through Ericsson Global Services offerings.

Ahmed Mokhles, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, says: “Mobile broadband access is really a prerequisite to achieving our key objective of enriching the lives and empowering the people of Nigeria to benefit both consumers and industry. Ericsson Radio System provides the performance and efficiency to support this objective while also ensuring a future-proof evolution as Nigeria continues to establish itself as a progressive and innovative ICT-driven country.”

By 2021, it is forecast that more than 90% of the world’s population will be covered by mobile broadband networks. Meanwhile, cost points for entry-level cellular devices reduced by 85% over the last ten years. This increasing device affordability addresses the major barrier to entry and is achieved through the global economies of scale enabled by cellular standards.

Arun Bansal, Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson, says: “Airtel Nigeria and their customers are directly benefitting from the performance and efficiency innovations designed in to the Ericsson Radio System – network-wise, its future-proof multi-standard platform ensures a smooth evolution, while its compact, modular design reduces operating costs enabling Airtel Nigeria to offer more affordable mobile broadband access today.

“Ericsson Radio System has already won both the Global Mobile Award for Best Mobile Infrastructure and the Red Dot Award for Product Design, but it is the recognition of our key customers like Airtel Nigeria that matters the most.”

Ericsson Radio System was launched at MWC 2015, and started shipping to customers in Q3 2015. Its innovative rail system enables the Ericsson Radio System to adapt to any site, with zero floor footprint and easy one-bolt installation while its modular, compact and energy efficient radios reduce both operating and capital expenses, delivering three times the capacity density with 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency.

As operators, like Airtel Nigeria, strive to deliver the best possible performance and quality of experience in the most cost-efficient way, Ericsson Radio System’s multi-standard, multi-band, multi-layer architecture supports their requirements today and on the road to 5G.

Ericsson has also launched software and hardware innovations, including Intelligent Antenna Sharing, aimed at lowering the cost of mobile broadband access, and a Managed Rural Coverage services offering focused specifically on addressing the economic challenges of delivering mobile broadband access to rural areas.