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MTN South Africa and Huawei signing the MoU (Image source: Huawei)

On June 6th, MTN South Africa, also known as MTN, in collaboration with Huawei, hosted the IP Day Summit focusing on “Net5.5G Network Development”

The summit convened leading specialists from MTN’s network planning division and Huawei’s data communications department. Discussions centered on worldwide network construction principles, cutting-edge technologies, and insights into the IP sector, with the goal of enhancing the robustness and user experience of MTN’s network.

At this summit, a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) was executed between MTN and Huawei to foster strategic collaboration on Net5.5G. This agreement will see both parties collaboratively advance the deployment of Net5.5G’s essential features, such as 400GE, SRv6, slicing, and Network Digital Map, aiming to elevate the service quality and network accessibility for MTN’s consumer and B2B segments, as well as augmenting operational and maintenance efficiency.

During the event, Rami Farah, chief technical officer of MTN SA, underscored the significance of innovation as a fundamental component of MTN’s network strategy.

Zoltan Miklos, MTN SA’s General Manager of Access Planning and Architecture, emphasized MTN’s longstanding commitment to maintaining robust and stable networks. He highlighted the role of SRv6 and Network Digital Map in crafting an IP transport network that delivers an unparalleled experience.

Miklos further acknowledged the challenges MTN faces in service and network operations, security, reliability, among other areas, in the era of cloud and 5G, expressing eagerness to deepen ties with Huawei.

Feng Su, President of Huawei’s IP Marketing and Solution Sales Department, stressed that Net5.5G represents the future of IP networks and noted Huawei’s sustained investment in ultra-broadband products, network servitisation, and network intelligence. He conveyed Huawei’s anticipation to assist MTN in developing a premier IP transport network characterised by ultra-broadband, high reliability, and the ultimate experience, thereby contributing to MTN’s business prosperity.

Xu Huan, vice-president of Metro Router Domain at Huawei’s Data Communication Product Line, stated Huawei’s commitment to collaborate with MTN to hasten the commercial adoption of the next-generation IP transport network, guided by the Net5.5G network objectives.

The MoU outlines the ongoing collaboration between MTN and Huawei to refine the Net5.5G network blueprint and bolster the enduring growth of MTN’s mobile, enterprise, and home broadband offerings. The partnership is poised to serve as a regional exemplar, expediting the adoption of novel technologies and applications, and propelling the enduring advancement of regional telecommunications operators.

Chosen by the National Treasury, Sigfox SA stands out for its strength and low-power requirements, forming the backbone of the emerging smart water meter infrastructure. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Sigfox SA has been chosen as the preferred network to facilitate South Africa’s shift towards intelligent water metering systems 

Chosen by the National Treasury, Sigfox SA stands out for its strength and low-power requirements, forming the backbone of the emerging smart water meter infrastructure. The “RT29” tender, awarded to several System Integrators, aims to upgrade or replace current meters with smart ones, enhancing revenue collection and service delivery. These upgraded meters will utilise the Sigfox IoT network, which spans the nation.

Greg Rood, CEO of Sigfox South Africa, stated, “Water is a basic human right, and we are proud to be associated with provision of such essential services, supporting both revenue collections and provision. The fact that the National Treasury has entrusted Sigfox to monitor and support over 15,000,000 smart water meters in the country underlines how robust the technology is. We expect this to be a catalyst to further grow our local IoT and system integrator ecosystem.”

Rood details the reasons for Sigfox’s selection in supporting smart water meters, highlighting the network’s extensive coverage, the technology’s sturdiness, its low energy use, and the associated SLAs with Sigfox. Globally recognised as a utility-favored technology, Sigfox 0G has a proven record of facilitating large-scale commercial utility projects in South Africa. The advanced Sigfox ultra-narrowband (UNB) signal’s exceptional range and penetration make it the optimal choice for connecting meters installed in difficult locations.

“The Sigfox SA network already covers 91% of the South African population. Should there be a need to extend or densify the network, this can be achieved quickly and cost-effectively,” continued Rood.

Addressing power-related challenges, Sigfox’s technology is a game-changer for smart water meters, which typically do not have external power sources and depend on battery power. The low-power network technology of Sigfox, designed for large-scale IoT support, allows a device to operate on a single battery for more than a decade.

“The technology has an extremely low power reliance. The smart meter devices are sealed and waterproof, with batteries built in. Our devices will last for over 10 years at one reading a day, which far exceeds the three-year lifespan stipulated on the tender. Due to this extended lifespan, it’s practically an ‘install and forget’ scenario, which cuts costs and optimises resources. Sigfox’s benefits also include ease of installation, accuracy and reliability. And the fact that the network is independent means there is no reliance on Wi-Fi or fibre in the ground,” commented Rood.

He emphasises that Sigfox is unique as the sole mass-coverage network supported by an SLA, boosting reliability and offering municipalities an unparalleled return on investment.

“The transition to smart meters supported by Sigfox SA will mean improved collections for municipalities, real-time and accurate billing for customers, and improved management of increasingly scarce water resources,” concluded Rood.

The partnership with Network International equips Airtel Africa to adeptly handle the evolving digital finance sector, fostering innovation and providing exceptional value to customers and stakeholders alike. (Image source: Airtel Africa)

Airtel Africa, a prominent telecommunications and mobile money service provider operating in 14 African nations, has recently designated Network International (Network) as its official payment processor

Network, a key player in digital commerce within the Middle East and Africa (MEA), is poised to enhance Airtel’s delivery of state-of-the-art mobile services throughout the continent.

Enhancing digital finance in Africa

The partnership with Network International equips Airtel Africa to adeptly handle the evolving digital finance sector, fostering innovation and providing exceptional value to customers and stakeholders alike.

Boasting operations in 50 countries, including 40 in Africa, and supporting over 200 financial institutions with more than 1.6 billion transactions, Network International’s profound understanding of the African market positions it as an optimal ally for Airtel Africa. Network International is set to deploy its services across pivotal Airtel Africa markets, encompassing card issuance and technical assistance. The suite of services extends to transaction processing, card management, fraud prevention online, reconciliation, settlement, and granting Airtel users online access. This initiative promises Airtel Africa’s customers a seamless and enhanced experience, granting easy access to a broad spectrum of traditional mobile and innovative digital payment services.

Speaking on the partnership, Ian Ferrao, group CEO, Airtel Money, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Network International to enhance our payment processing capabilities. This collaboration will enable us to deliver a superior customer experience and drive digital financial inclusion across Africa. Network International's proven track record and deep understanding of the African market will allow us to innovate and scale our services more effectively. Together, we will empower our users with seamless and secure payment solutions, fostering economic growth and inclusion in the communities we serve.”

Dr Reda Helal, group managing director – processing, Africa and co-head group Processing at Network International, commented, “Our collaboration with Airtel marks a major milestone for our outsourced payments services in Africa. It demonstrates our ability to successfully serve Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) via our fully-fledged processing solutions and our continued dedication and commitment to the African region. We are excited to support Airtel’s growth strategy and its business development plans for the entire continent.”

(L-R) Dr Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Intel director of government affairs and IGA chief technology officer Liaison, with Ousmane Fall, acting AfDB director of industrial and trade development. (Image source: African Development Bank Group)

The collaboration between the African Development Bank and the tech titan Intel has been officially established to revolutionize the digital landscape of Africa. This alliance is set to provide AI training to three million Africans and 30,000 government officials

The agreement, which was finalised at the African Development Bank’s annual meetings held in Nairobi, Kenya, is expected to build a substantial base of African individuals skilled in the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This initiative aims to transform Africans into active participants in 4IR, not merely passive users. The educational programs will tackle socio-economic issues and enhance productivity in vital sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, and education, thus altering the conventional patterns of economic growth.

Intel’s director of government affairs Africa and IGA CTO Liaison, Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, commented, “Intel looks forward to furthering its collaboration with African governments to make advanced technologies such as AI accessible to all, breaking down barriers related to geography, gender, and ethnicity, and enabling widespread participation in the digital economy.”

Furthermore, the partnership is set to aid African nations, regional economic groups, and continental entities in crafting unified policies and regulatory structures for AI, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, data, and cloud technologies.

Highlighting the significance of digital competencies for the African youth, Ousmane Fall, the African Development Bank’s acting director of industrial and trade development, remarked, “With advancements in digital technology, our world is rapidly evolving, and so is our youthful population, projected to reach 830 million by 2050. To develop skills on a large scale and at the necessary speed, we need everyone’s cooperation,” adding, “The Bank is thrilled to collaborate with Intel to work towards this shared commitment. Together, we are shaping the digital future of Africa and empowering our youth.”

Vertiv launches Vertiv 360AI in EMEA, offering high-density power and cooling solutions to meet the demands of AI, from edge to data centers. (Image source: Vertiv)

Vertiv, a worldwide provider of essential digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, is reshaping the data center landscape with the introduction of its new high-density infrastructure solutions portfolio, Vertiv 360AI

This suite is engineered to meet the escalating power and cooling demands of AI and is now accessible throughout Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The Vertiv 360AI range is crafted to expedite AI implementations of varying magnitudes, from rack solutions suitable for test pilots and Edge AI to comprehensive data centers dedicated to AI model training.

The surge in AI and accelerated computing has led to an unparalleled need for power and cooling, with projections indicating rack densities could soar to as much as 500kW per rack. Consequently, the intricacies of power and cooling infrastructure design and implementation have intensified. Vertiv 360AI offers a straightforward solution for powering and cooling AI, encompassing an extensive array of power, cooling, and service solutions that tackle the intricate issues spawned by the AI revolution. The Vertiv 360AI suite encompasses verified designs and pre-fabricated solutions that leverage Vertiv’s extensive knowledge, thereby streamlining design processes.

Karsten Winther, Vertiv’s president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), expressed excitement about the expansion, “After the successful launch in North America, we’re thrilled to bring the new Vertiv 360AI portfolio to EMEA and boost our customers’ AI plans. Our solutions provide a streamlined approach for scalable AI infrastructure, addressing the evolving challenges posed by high-performance computing. Vertiv 360AI is designed to help accelerate retrofits of air-cooled edge and enterprise data centres, as well as the development of hyperscale greenfield projects.”

Moreover, Vertiv 360AI introduces prefabricated modular solutions that facilitate AI deployment without disrupting current operations or occupying additional floorspace. The initial offerings from Vertiv 360AI can manage and moderate over 130kW per rack and feature designs that are fine-tuned for retrofitting purposes.

The Vertiv 360AI portfolio will be showcased throughout the EMEA leg of the Vertiv AI Solutions Innovation Roadshow.

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