Vanu a provider of equipment, tools and services that allow mobile network operators to profit by serving off-grid communities, has announced that it has been selected by MTN Group, a leading emerging market operator with more than 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, to supply both equipment and services for as many as 5,000 mobile network sites. Vanu’s unique off-grid network systems will enable MTN Group to provide efficient and profitable connectivity solutions to previously unconnected communities. In selecting Vanu as its partner, MTN Group is tapping the expertise of an organization that has successfully provided mobile communications systems based on open architectures since its inception, enabling operators to provide cost-effective connectivity in those areas where it is needed most.
“We are pleased to partner with MTN Group to extend coverage to off-grid communities,” said Andrew Beard, CEO of Vanu, Inc. “Off-grid markets present unique challenges for operators that require specialized solutions. MTN Group recognizes the benefits of open systems, based on software defined radio, to address these challenges. As the first software defined radio certified for commercial use in the United States, Vanu is a pioneer in the area of open platform innovation. We will use the performance and cost advantages of these open platforms to enable MTN to connect off-grid communities across its operating areas.”
Vanu helps close the digital divide by providing cellular mobile connectivity to remote, off-grid markets that have not had opportunities to seize the economic, social and cultural advantages generated by cellular coverage. To efficiently cover villages, Vanu uses a combination of proprietary equipment, tools and services, including low TCO (total cost of ownership) cell sites, mapping tools and network planning tools (to ensure sites are built in optimal locations), as well as monitoring, optimization and support services (to ensure maintenance resources are used efficiently).
Built to minimize costs for power, backhaul and maintenance, Vanu’s equipment, tools and services enable mobile network operators (MNOs) and partners, such as MTN Group, to provide off-grid coverage profitably. In addition, Vanu’s unique high-resolution coverage mapping tool, VanuMaps, provide MNOs, their partners and potential investors with the high-resolution coverage and population data needed to more accurately and efficiently identify the return on investment afforded by serving previously uncovered villages.
“Our Group Technology team has been pioneering OpenRAN, concluding field trials in Zambia in 2018 and deploying commercial sites from the beginning of 2019. We focus on creating viable new RAN solutions alongside the traditional deployments of network technology suppliers in order to accelerate the rural expansion in our markets,” said Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and CEO.