4G Networks in Africa experiencing limitations

Posted on December 3, 2012 09:33 pm

A couple of mobile network operators in sub Saharan Africa are embracing software defined networking in the cloud as a means of dealing with high traffic data events. A new study shows that whenever there are emergencies of any nature or sporting events like Africa cup of Nations and holidays celebrations such as the Christmas and new years eve the data users skyrockets. A senior manager who was seeking my advise, revealed to me that his employer, a reputable mobile carrier in Africa is conducting trials, which offers a software platform that will allow for easier expansion of capacity during high needs events. The network operator’s idea behind the software is to optimize dataflow through the cloud and then through the carrier’s back end.Also,the network operator is planning to kick off the trial beginning early next year. Another network operators are also considering trialing microcell strategy.

According to the senior manager, the idea is about being able to handle peak data while still being able to provide a consistent carrier experience during those extra ordinary events. I was amused by how most carriers are running two-tier strategy when it comes to mobile data. In sub Saharan Africa, there are over 1,000 sites that have already been upgraded to 3G+ which is a moniker given to towers which have been refarmed from 2G network to 3G network on the 900MHz spectrum. Until now, very few network operators have been forthcoming about the speeds their users can expect from 3G Plus. Despite the limitations in both capacity and financial muscles, most network operators remain bullish about their ability to offer greater in-building coverage across the continent.

Contador Harrison