Africa’s top MNOs, SPs gather for 5G and ORAN conference

Johannesburg, 28 Jun 2022
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Anthony Laing, GM of networking at NEC XON.
Anthony Laing, GM of networking at NEC XON.

Select South African mobile network operators (MNO) and internet and telecommunications service providers (SP) will, on 7 July, explore a rapidly growing movement to break the shackles of vendor lock-in using OpenRAN (ORAN) solutions as they transition to 5G.

NEC XON is showing a limited number of representatives from these organisations, including some from key sub-Sahara Africa MNOs, how they can use OpenRAN to support the commercials of a gradual deployment of 5G, connectivity expansion and coverage with the infrastructure and services to support it in Africa.

“MNOs and SPs are enabling Africa’s digital transformation via connectivity for smart infrastructure and end-user services,” says Anthony Laing, GM of Networks at NEC XON. “We’re making sure they have the world’s best 5G and ORAN technologies in models that support uniquely African scenarios. In the digital transformation era, everything is mobile, it all requires connectivity and bandwidth and it must reach everywhere. We need to go further, for less, and reliably, on smaller footprints and preferably off-grid.”

Rakuten Symphony is the world’s leading use case of 5G ORAN and a senior executive will demonstrate at the event how African MNOs and SPs can use ORAN to protect their 4G investments as they develop their 5G roadmaps.

A key panel discussion will explore how networks will benefit from an integrated, multi-vendor 5G ORAN solution and why this will be the mostly widely adopted model in Africa going forward.

Willem Wentzel, Head of Wireless at NEC XON.
Willem Wentzel, Head of Wireless at NEC XON.

The keynote will be Prof Brian Armstrong, Wits University’s Chair of Digital Business, who will explore how we can enable African communities through digital adoption using 5G connectivity as a cost-effective connectivity medium.

“The key success of ORAN is breaking vendor lock-in,” says Willem Wentzel, Head of Wireless at NEC XON. “It shatters the traditional expense associated with building these networks, dropping the costs by 30% to 40% according to the analysts and the proofs that have been deployed internationally. With the standards-based integration and interoperability, multi-vendor solutions are much more cost-effective, in some cases enabling networks to double their footprint for the same costs of a proprietary network. And the networks can deploy the best-of-breed technologies in every element of the network, so they gain performance and efficiency benefits as well.”

The Japanese ambassador to South Africa, HE Norio Maruyama, will open the event.

Register for the live stream at, which will be viewable on 7 July 2022 from 9am.

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