MTN uses street lights for towers

MTN has started deploying antennas on street light poles, the network announced in a press release on Tuesday, 19 August 2014.

It has also been erecting “purpose-built pole masts with zero visual impact” around west and northern Johannesburg to improve network coverage and quality.

News of MTN using street poles as cellular towers comes after the network revealed in January 2014 that it had an infrastructure deal with City Power.

MTN said that City Power awarded it a 3-year contract following a request for proposals on City Power’s plan to commercialise its infrastructure.

According to MTN, the density of the buildings around west and northern Johannesburg has impacted negatively on network coverage and quality.

“This has compelled MTN to consider innovative ways of deploying its infrastructure due to the difficulties experienced in installing conventional base stations in these areas,” MTN said.

Eben Albertyn, chief technology officer of MTN South Africa, was quoted as saying that customers will experience a noticeable difference in quality of service when the project is complete.

“This will also lay the firm foundations for future deployment of a fibre to the home (FTTH) network,” Albertyn said.

Deployment of cellular infrastructure onto the street lights started this week with the installation of a pole site in Bryanston.

The areas targeted include a number of suburbs in Randburg, Fourways, Bryanston, and Saxonworld.

MTN expects to complete the first phase of this project in the next four months. The second phase of the project will be determined by customer requirements, MTN said.

Each pole site has a coverage radius of 400–600 meters, and the number of poles that will be installed will depend on customer density in the targeted areas.

“The smaller coverage footprint of these sites means that the resources are shared by fewer users which gives an improved level of service and throughput,” Albertyn said.

He also pointed out that the pole sites can be used to cater to other services required by the residents, such as security cameras and installing additional lighting.

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MTN uses street lights for towers