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Vodafone Egypt to deploy Ericsson's triple-band mobile radio unit

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Swedish ICT company Ericsson has announced that Vodafone Egypt has become the first mobile operator to deploy its triple-band mobile radio unit, which supports both frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD) spectrum.

The deployment of the triple-band mobile radio unit is part of Ericsson's network modernization and capacity expansion initiative.

In a statement, Ericsson said that, using the new mobile radio unit, Vodafone Egypt will be able to support 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G and it will combine 1800MHz, 2100MHz FDD and 2600MHz TDD frequency bands into one single radio unit.

The Swedish ICT firm said consolidating three bands in the same radio not only reduces the amount of equipment on the stower, but also enhances network performance and reduces power consumption.

Vodacom Group added that the advanced radio unit from Ericsson will enable Vodafone Egypt to reduce the cost of its 4G/5G network rollout in the country, as well as the implementation time, energy consumption and tower load.

"Through advanced optimization algorithms and intelligent resource allocation, we can unlock new levels of efficiency, ensuring that every bit of bandwidth is utilized to its fullest potential," said Håkan Cervell, Ericsson Middle East and Africa VP and head of Ericsson Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

"I am proud of the innovative work done by the team in Vodafone Egypt in driving Vodacom Group's vision to build networks that are future-proofed, efficient and customer-focused. Combining three bands across FDD and TDD in a single radio unit is a milestone in simplifying the engineering, deployment, and operation of our network," added Vodacom Group Technology Officer Dejan Kastelic.

Vodacom's Egyptian footprint

Vodacom has been expanding across Africa in recent years and now operates across eight markets with over 203 million customers (including Safaricom).

Currently, the customer base is evenly split across four segments: South Africa, Egypt, Safaricom (Kenya and Ethiopia) and international business (Mozambique, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania).

In December 2022, Vodacom bought a 55% stake in Vodafone Egypt, for around US$2.5 billion, and has been seeing good growth in the North African country since then.

"Despite inflationary pressures, Egypt posted net income growth of 53.7% in local currency, highlighting the assets growth trajectory and scope for strong rand returns over the medium term," the group said in its results for the year ended March 31, 2024.

Vodacom Group believes deploying the triple-band mobile radio unit will enable Vodafone Egypt to extend the reach of 4G and 5G services to even more customers.   (Source: David Evers on Flickr CC 2.0)
Vodacom Group believes deploying the triple-band mobile radio unit will enable Vodafone Egypt to extend the reach of 4G and 5G services to even more customers.
(Source: David Evers on Flickr CC 2.0)

According to the Vodacom Group, as of January 2024, Egypt's Internet penetration rate was 72.2%, with 75.66 million Internet users. It added that even though Egypt has the second-largest online population in Africa, the average Internet download speed is amongst the slowest in the world.

"Vodacom is committed to providing solutions that contribute towards Egypt's priority national development ambitions, including the Digital Egypt strategy, which comprises of numerous national projects to achieve digital transformation and upgrade digital infrastructure," Kastelic noted.

Kastelic added that deploying the triple-band mobile radio unit, which is relevant for Egypt's current radio spectrum allocation, will enable Vodafone Egypt to extend the reach of 4G and 5G services to even more customers in the North African country.

"This new triple band radio unit from Ericsson gives us better cost, faster deployment of 4G/5G services, less energy consumption for our mobile network and less tower load," Vodafone Egypt Technology Director Catalin Buliga reflected.

Statistics from market research company Omdia, a sister company of Connecting Africa, show that Vodafone Egypt was the country's biggest mobile operator at the end of the first quarter of 2024, with over 48.3 million subscribers .

Orange Egypt had about 29.6 million mobile subscribers over the same period. Etisalat follows with about 29.4 million subscribers.

Telecom Egypt, which recently secured a 5G license, had about 13 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter of 2024.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Vodacom Group.

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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