MTN Uganda and several members of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) have signed an agreement that will advance network automation using TIP’s Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG).

This first of its kind network deployment in Africa will see MTN evolve its Transport Network and turn it into a future-proof asset that will seamlessly enable its network transition to 5G. Transport Network transmits data traffic between points within a network that enable access to the internet. Through Ambition 2025, MTN’s strategic blueprint, Network-as-a-Service (Naas) is one of five scale platforms for growth that contribute to leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

DCSGs ultimately provide connectivity between (Mobile sites and Enterprises) and the core network, which is what users access to connect to the internet. DCSG at these cell sites will see the hardware and software de-coupled, allowing greater flexibility in upgrading software and configuration. Typically, cell site hardware and software are aggregated, requiring wholesale replacement to upgrade the transport network.

For the Uganda deployment, Aviat will oversee the deployment of this DCSG solution using Network Operating Software (NOS) provided by ADVA, running on Edgecore Hardware. This solution in Uganda is a flagship development in accelerating connectivity in Africa, by enabling faster network roll-out to expand connectivity, a more stable and quicker network with reduced latency, providing users best-in-class connectivity to the internet.

“We are very excited about the potential of the DCSG solution. It promises to broaden our supplier market, expedite the development of new features, reduce capital expenditure, improve operational efficiencies through easier scalable and more features open networking ecosystem,” says Ali Monzer, CTIO, MTN Uganda. “To advance our service offering to our subscribers we continue to innovate and evolve our networks to support the increasing demand of higher capacity. In collaborating with the TIP community partners, we are not only able to innovate as a community, but also deploy leading technologies such as the DCSG to advance our network automation objectives.”

“This large-scale deployment of the DCSG in MTN Uganda is testament to our commitment to accelerate automation of MTN’s Transport Network,” says Lloyd Mphahlele, MTN Group General Manager responsible for the Transport Network.

“We are delighted to work with MTN on their network evolution journey. As Aviat, we are committed to bring innovation and simplicity to MTN’s network. In collaboration with our TIP community partners Adva and Edgecore, the MTN Uganda network will be a showcase operation of automated, intelligent, and always on network. A real network of the future” says Peter Smith, CEO of Aviat Networks.

“TIP’s DCSG will accelerate MTN in its evolution towards a more open disaggregated, standard-based transport network that will meet future customer needs and enable a more simplified, scalable, and agile network operating model. This collaboration with MTN is one more example of the role TIP is playing as a vehicle to accelerate testing and deployment of open network solutions in Africa, and as a catalyst for innovation. The solution provided by ADVA and Edgecore has gone through a lab validation as part of the TIP process to ensure its maturity,” says David Hutton, TIP’s Chief Engineer.

DCSG was developed within TIP’s Open Optical and Packet Transport (OOPT) Project Group. The TIP DCSG solution uses open, standard-based, disaggregated network technologies to target several opportunities in operators’ IP aggregation networks. These include overall deployment cost reductions and the creation of a more diverse supply chain, as well as operational efficiencies from being able to use Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies for network management automation.

MTN announced its collaboration with the TIP community to build transport products and network configurations that enable the company’s ambitions in world-class network capabilities.