This blog is by Amit Sehgal at Nokia Networks.
Fact: Mobile connectivity has a significant impact on economic growth in developing countries – for every 10% increase in mobile penetration, productivity improves by 4.2% and data usage over 3G further boosts it by 1.5%.
Fact: By doubling mobile broadband connections, GDP rises by 2-9 % and every additional 1000 mobile broadband connections creates 33 jobs.
Hard truth: Rural coverage is often neglected and is where reliable connectivity would have the maximum impact. Billions of funds collected under the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) are lying idle in various countries with the intent to utilize them for comprehensive network coverage including mobile broadband.
Case Rwanda: This hard truth spurred the country of Rwanda to action by devising an ambitious business plan to provide LTE coverage for 95% of its population. The Rwandan government, in a joint ownership with Korea Telecom, set up the olleh Rwanda network or oRn in order to launch nationwide LTE. oRn was commissioned to do the rollout using a wholesale supplier model, whereby it would offer the service to incumbent operators. The operators in turn would manage the sales and billing aspect, while oRn would manage the operational aspects.
For any vendor, this concept poses multiple administrative, managerial and technical challenges, including unfamiliar geography, language, culture, business environment, government practices within this wholesale network model, etc. In addition, there was limited availability of the needed technical skills required for rollout and management of this advanced communication service.
The BOT wholesale network solution: Nokia Networks was then assigned complete responsibility to provide the first ever ‘Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model for a wholesale network of FDD LTE’. It involved supplying radio and core equipment, all services (core network planning, implementation, optimization, maintenance and care), network operations, and the final handover to oRn with locally trained resources within a 3-year phase. The project has already been delivered for the phase 1 commitment of LTE service going live in various parts of Rwanda, and phase 2 is well under way.
BOT unwrapped: BOT is a unique service offering where the risk of rolling out and operating a project is minimized, in this case with Nokia Networks managing all aspects. Typically, in projects of this scale, the biggest challenges occur during the initial few months of operations and as they begin to ramp up. BOT irons out these issues by involving operator resources in all aspects of the project and providing on-the-job training with Nokia Networks engineers. The project schedule sets mutually agreed milestones and the process involves comprehensive governance to monitor progress.
Award winning roll-out: The benefits of this unique model were convincing enough to win the GTB Innovation award for building and operating LTE in Rwanda. These range from boosting local employment and enhancing skill levels to providing a smooth transition for the latest telecommunication technology to the benefit of Rwandan society as a whole. It is yet another example of Nokia Network’s commitment to bring the telecommunication technology to the unconnected, in keeping with our vision of enabling the human possibilities of technology.
Find out more about Nokia’s Managed Services here.
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