Smart network planning must be informed by the customer

Smart network planning and deployment must be informed by the customer, said Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, Chief Technology Officer: MTN South Africa.

Kanagaratnam was addressing delegates at the 2011 AfricaCom conference, held inCape Town,South Africa. Presenting under the topic: “Operator Strategy: Planning and Deploying Mobile Broadband”, Kanagaratnam said there has been an increase in 3G traffic in both data and voice, with sustained 2G traffic growth.

Kanagaratnam said network strategy should be customer-focused and -orientated to optimally serve the needs of customers. “Network planning and rollout is not only about creating access, but it’s about being relevant and providing services that add value to peoples’ lives,” said Kanagaratnam.

Kanagaratnam said MTN network deployment is driven by insight on customer experience, device preference, and location of call drops. This enables MTN to identify and earmark high data usage areas in order to provide added capacity and to ascertain nodes where voice or data capacity requires increasing.

Kanagaratnam said MTN is acutely aware of the importance of broadband connectivity in driving socio-economic development. There is massive opportunity for mobile to bridge the digital gap inAfrica.

“Broadband connectivity will be a catalyst for socio-economic development and enhanceSouth Africa’s global competitiveness. Broadband connectivity will support education, socio-economic upliftment and innovation; help bridge the digital divide; bring mobility and high-speed Internet access; accelerate the adoption of media tablets, mobile-centric applications and mobile cloud services; and enable MTN’s customers to access information, entertainment, applications and services with much more richness and computing capacity,” said Kanagaratnam.

Shedding more light on MTN’s focus, Kanagaratnam said MTN will double its 3G base stations inSouth Africa, increase the reach to at least 80% of the population in the next few years, and also significantly increase its UMTS 900 and HSPA footprint.

Kanagaratnam said MTN has seen a significant spike in data traffic on its network after it increased the rollout of its UMTS 900 infrastructure.

UMTS data, Kanagaratnam said, has doubled in growth compared to GSM data in the last year. UMTS data has almost doubled in a year’s time.

Kanagaratnam explained that MTN’s broadband vision is underpinned by the vision to provide world-class Internet everywhere you go.

“MTN’s focus is underlined by improving customer data experience, coupled with aggressive rollout of broadband connectivity, and accelerating a ‘Connected South Africa’ and all its associated benefits, everywhere you go.”

Serame Taukobong, MTN South Africa’s Chief Marketing Officer, said joint partnerships between operators and key private and public stakeholders are critical to ensureAfricameets the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UNMDG).

Taukobong was in a panel to discuss “Transforming Operators’ Models to Deliver Better Services in a More Demanding Market”.

“Critical engagement across the entire ecosystem is pivotal to ensure that we collectively and optimally use mobile telephony to tackle and address the challenges facing the continent.”

Taukobong added that these partnerships should be used to tailor solutions that address local needs. “There is a need for African-based applications that are relevant to Africans. Mindful of this need to customise applications, MTN Group announced the first ever apps development competition to tap into the vast and diverse pool of talent – what can emanate from this competition is a rich tapestry of apps that will be both relevant and enrich the lives of our customers,” said Taukobong.

Source:- Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs 10 November 2011