Ghanaian MTN chooses swedish site solution to keep up with expansion
Date: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 19:09
Mobile networks are expanding rapidly in Africa. Some operators have found that in order to keep up the expansion rate and at the same time get high quality installations, a containerised solution is the most favourable alternative. Flexenclosure has won an important tender in Ghana, and the operator, MTN, is enthusiastic about quality and workmanship
When the Ghanaian mobile operator MTN was procuring container-based switching centres, their eyes fell upon Swedish hardware manufacturer Flexenclosure. Not only was the price right, but Swedish quality and production methods were favourable over other manufacturers.
Ghana’s mobile network is expanding fast, and the fastest way to install a switching centre is to have it ready-made somewhere else, and just ship it in, put it in place, and turn on the power. That’s how Ghanaian MTN is rolling out expansions to their countrywide network.
How come the choice fell upon a faraway Swedish manufacturer? MTN Network Operations Manager Max Maxted says: “We had the requirement to relocate three of our switching centres, and sent out a tender for a containerised solution. The tender went to Ericsson and the manufacturer of the modular containers was Flexenclosure. The equipment has no fancy name, we just call it ’containerised solutions. Sweden is renowned for quality and precision, and we wanted these containers to last for a long time. The standard of workmanship and material is quite high”.
“While Flexenclosure works according to our drawing, we prepare the physical site here in Ghana. The enclosures come pre-installed with standardised raised floor, cabling, under-floor power sockets, fire prevention, alarms, UPS, air-conditioners, etc., and the only thing we install on-site are the cooling condensers. All we do then is populate them with our multi-vendor switching and transmission equipment, according to whether we’re building a switching centre or a data centre. Whereas the switching centres are powered by DC voltage, the data centres are fed mainly from a UPS”, said Maxted.
“We have already taken delivery of two of the three enclosures and one of them is already installed and commissioned. The Swedes are coming back later to commission the second one.We are not talking about small base stations here, but big switching centres of 1,200 m2 equipment floor space. All the modules for the switching centres are pre-fabricated in Sweden with pre-installed material and tested before being delivered to the site where the telecom equipment is installed and then connected to the backbone. The backbone network arrives via optical fibres or microwave links. A microwave link mast is then erected adjacent to the site. The calls are re-routed in the switches and sent back on the backbone network to the appropriate base station”, said Maxted.
Max Maxted continues: “MTN Ghana has over 8 million subscribers in a country with 23.8 million inhabitants and the numbers are rising fast. We have found that building a brick and mortar data centre in this and the adjacent countries is problematic because of faltering building standards, and a containerised solution is a lot quicker. The situation is similar with for example MTN Nigeria and we see this solution as a very positive one. We will continue to go with Flexenclosure in the future. We have had good quality so far, and the quality of the installers who have come from Sweden to install and commission the equipment have maintained a very high standard.
Flexonclosure at MWC 2010
To follow the success of its E-site, mobile base station site solutions using solar panels and a wind generator as its primary energy resources, Flexenclosure will present two new E-site products at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, on the 15th - 18th of February at outdoor Pavilion AV05; E-site Modular and E-site Community Power.