Airtel completes largest ever African network upgrading programme

An end-to-end network transformation programme across integrated telecoms operator Bharti Airtel’s mobile operations in 16 African countries, the largest network modernisation program in Africa’s telecom history, is now complete, the company said today.

The transformation program demanded “a comprehensive upgrade and expansion of network elements on the company’s entire African operations, such as switching, radio, data, charging, network management, and consumer-services platforms and systems.”

Airtel said the program fully readies its networks for next generation services such as high-speed data and value added services.

Airtel undertook the program in partnership with communications solutions firm Ericsson, in which the latter deployed latest wireless technologies expected to improve network capacity and strength, as well as deliver first-rate services to the mobile network operator’s customers at affordable rates.

A full upgrade of the charging platforms was also implemented, bringing in the latest version of Ericsson’s Charging System and enabling Airtel to offer subscribers innovative value-added services including mobile wallets.

Eben Albertyn, Chief Technical Officer, Airtel Africa said: “Customer is at the core of everything we do at Airtel. The implementation of this transformation program will enable us to further enrich our customer experience across the region.

“It allows us to provide Airtel subscribers with the best network possible while meeting the growing usage of mobile data.”

Supported by some 1200 consulting and systems integration professionals worldwide, over 100 resources worked onsite to ensure the project is completed.

Airtel said Ericsson’s systems integration organisation delivers more than 1500 systems integration projects per year in multi-vendor and multiple-technology environments. Projects range from single-solution integrations to end-to-end solution transformation projects such as this one.

According to Lars Lindén, head of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, in the transition to a Networked Society in Africa operators are facing growing challenges in meeting the rapidly evolving demands of consumers.

“The focus of this project was transforming Airtel Africa’s networks to meet current and future consumer demand,” he said.

This transformation program follows the 2011 announcement of a 5-year multi-country managed services agreement, currently underway, in which Ericsson will take charge of and optimise Airtel’s mobile networks throughout Africa.

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Bharti Airtel operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. The company ranks among the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. It had over 259 million customers across its operations at the end of September 2012.

Posted in: Telecoms

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