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MTN, Huawei announce dates for Africa-wide deployment of NB-IoT

The duo of leading technology firms, MTN and Huawei have announced launch dates for Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) solutions in Nigeria and other African countries.

Whereas the Low Power Wide Area technology will be launch in Nigeria by the end of 2018, and the next year, in South Africa, other African countries will come in succession.

The new technology will help also in conducting surveillance in wildlife tracking, logistics and farming.

According to Alpheus Mangale, Chief Enterprise Business Officer at MTN South Africa, the mobile operator and Huawei efficiencies that can result from utilisation of the technology are huge.

He said the emerging technology connects objects requiring a long battery life and located in hard to reach areas to the Internet through mobile connectivity.

He said “In Africa, around 60 million IoT devices are connected today. These connections are found across different industries including mining, financial services, automotive industry, connected homes and even government. The prediction by GSMA is that 450 million homes will be connected around the world by 2020. We conducted a number of pilot sites, along with Huawei, at our sites in Gauteng.

“We looked at smart metering, connected fridges … but our intention is to roll out this service in South Africa in 2017 where we can actually partner with utility companies in the country to look after the scarce resource of water by reducing leakages in the environment and that users don’t get overbilled. We also plan to do the deployment in Nigeria and Iran and then across all the other markets where we are present.

Additional details indicate that after launching in South Africa and Nigeria, countries like Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia will follow from 2019.

Explaining more on the new deal that will crash the high cost of internet access, Michael Ma, President of Huawei Cloud Core product noted that Huawei and MTN will invest in building a connected Africa in order improve industry efficiency over the next few years through NB-IoT.

Ma said “We are very pleased to announce our strategic cooperation with MTN in IoT field. Huawei and MTN showcased solutions based on our OceanConnect IoT platform and partner ecosystem as well as NB-IoT wireless technology that enables MTN to develop vertical industry applications for Usage Based Insurance, Smart Refrigeration for commercial bottling market, and smart Water Metering.