Presented by Nokia

Connecting Africa since 1860

By Naveed Kashif, Customer Experience (CX) for Southern Africa and the MTN Customer Business Team at Nokia

Nokia has actively been collaborating with clients to build reliable critical networks in Africa since 1860.

Since then, we have been leading the charge with several firsts, such as equipping Libya with its first regional nationwide automatic switching network in the 1960s, Alcatel and Siemens — whose telecom divisions were purchased by Nokia — delivering the first digital exchange in Fes, Morocco in 1976, and installed the first electronic exchange in Pretoria, South Africa.

Our continuing successes in the continent

Nokia has come a long way since delivering 1G (NMT) in Morocco to Maroc Telecom in 1987, first 2G (GSM) in Egypt to ARENTO in 1996, first 3G in Tanzania in 2006 and the first 4G network to Ivory Coast in 2013.

In 2017 Nokia signed the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 5G with Vodacom South Africa and showcased the first 5G live sport broadcast in virtual reality and first live hologram broadcast of a sitting state president the following year, followed by the 4G launch with Orange across Africa modernising around 11 000 radio sites in Egypt, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Niger.

Nokia also ran the first 5G trial in Morocco on commercial hardware. In 2019 Nokia and Vodacom Mozambique trialled the country’s first 5G network and together with Djezzy concluded the world-first WING agricultural trial.

In 2020, Nokia and Angola Cables trialled the first direct optical connection between the USA and Africa with the PSE-3 chipset and enabled ultra-fast 5G services for Vodacom South Africa’s customers with its 5G radio, core, fixed and CPEs.

Nokia also collaborated with Airtel Kenya to lay 5G foundations in Nairobi, deployed the first 5G network in West Africa with Togocom, and broke the 5G speed record with Ooredoo Tunisia.

As the exclusive radio partner, Nokia assisted Orange Cameroon to revamp its 4G strategy making it the ‘Best Network’ in the country as per Ookla’s recognition.

In 2021, Nokia’s Submarine division (Alcatel Submarine Networks), began construction of the Africa-1 subsea cable, a 10,000 km cable to connect Africa to the Middle East and Europe.

We also launched East Africa’s first commercial 5G services in Kenya with Safaricom and signed a deal with Africell, Angola’s new telecommunications operator, to deploy a brand new 5G-ready network and in partnership with Nokia, MTN South Africa is modernizing and expanding its Voice over Broadband, Voice over WiFi and Voice over LTE (VoLTE), a digital service over its LTE wireless high-speed data network that gives users faster and more reliable connectivity experiences.

Developing tomorrow’s skills today

Apart from building critical networks across Africa, skills development is a priority for Nokia, and we remain committed to education in Africa through various partnerships.

These include partnerships with CodeBus Africa in 2017, which brought African and Finnish innovators together in 10 countries, the innovation marathon we ran with Egyptian universities in 2019 to nurture talent, and our collaboration with two leading universities in Ethiopia to promote digital skills and innovation.

Most recently, we supported the Forge Academy in South-Africa with the launch of a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help students to become entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Since 2018 Nokia and UNICEF have been working with the Government of Kenya and telcos including Safaricom in Kenya to boost digital literacy and bridge the digital divide with Fixed Wireless Access technology for broadband in 90 schools since September 1st, 2021.

The journey continues

Our journey in building solid critical telecommunications networks – 1G to 5G – and providing inclusive access globally for CSPs and enterprises continues globally and in Africa.

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Connecting Africa since 1860