Safaricom partners Ericsson to boost mobile broadband coverage

E-band platform
Image: Peter Ndegwa, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom

Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom, has partnered with Ericsson for the supply of microwave solutions based on the E-band platform to achieve multi Gbps backhaul capacity for mobile broadband coverage nationwide.

According to a statement issued, Safaricom, will leverage Ericsson’s MINI-LINK 6352 microwave solution which offers key advantages such as high capacity, efficient use of spectrum, low-energy consumption and simplified operations and maintenance.

With technological advances in microwave system software and new radio hardware, microwave transport capacity has moved from megabit-per-second capacity to gigabit-per-second capacity.

By deploying Ericsson’s microwave solution, Safaricom will benefit from multi Gbps links as an alternative in areas where fibre is not viable. The links will assist in providing the much-needed capacity to assist the service provider to expand data growth through Radio Access Network (RAN) and technology evolution.

Commenting on the partnership, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said, “Safaricom is committed to offering customers the best user experiences through our high-quality networks, and we are committed to building a solid base to evolve our networks to global standards.”

“Our partnership with Ericsson allows us to inspire and innovate to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers and businesses in all sectors across Kenya,” he added

With network technology evolving and data demand increasing, backhaul capacity requirements will increase for radio access network (RAN) sites. To support demands for greater capacity a wide range of transport aspects such as spectrum usage, differentiated availability and the mix of fibre and microwave becomes important, the statement noted.

This latest project is a testament to the capability of microwave to address growing data traffic demands and support communications service providers in offering superior mobile broadband experiences to their customers.

“Our collaboration with Safaricom will help develop and deploy a future-ready network with a new level of capacity, speed, and quality – allowing it to create and offer new services to customers and businesses. Through this partnership, we will showcase the benefits of high speed and reliable microwave backhaul to Safaricom and across Kenya setting #AfricaInMotion,” said Todd Ashton, Vice President and Head of Ericsson East and South Africa.

E-band spectrum is the key to supporting microwave and meeting increased capacity requirements for both backhaul and fronthaul.

According to Ericsson’s Microwave Outlook Report 2020, a total of 62% of backhaul connections globally are expected to be based on microwave by 2025.