MTN saw its largest network upgrade ever in 2017, and this year the company is continuing its strong focus on creating the best possible network experience.
MTN’s dual data strategy – focusing on 3G and 4G – has driven significant coverage improvements over the past two years.
These network upgrades also focused on improving voice quality, which is a challenge because of legacy technologies.
“A challenge was the need to manage legacy technologies, while deploying new technologies, in the spectrum-constrained environment within which we operate,” MTN South Africa’s executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan told MyBroadband.
Big 900MHz LTE drive
To achieve the big network improvements which were highlighted in the 2018 MyBroadband and P3 Communications network testing reports, MTN spent over R30 billion in three years.
O’Sullivan said they worked on various aspects of their network, including:
- Better radio design.
- New technology features, like 4×4 MIMO on LTE, LTE carrier aggregation, and LTE 256QAM modulation support.
- Higher radio base station backhaul capacity.
- Expanding core transport and IP data network capacity.
A strong focus was on deploying LTE in 900MHz, which provides better indoor and rural coverage.
“We have rolled out approximately 2,700 new LTE sites over the 900MHz band over the last few months,” O’Sullivan said.
“This has contributed to an increase in population coverage by approximately 4% – currently at 87%.”
“The objective is to ensure we roll out new LTE coverage to rural areas as well as improve LTE indoor coverage in metro areas.”