airtel-logoAirtel Africa plans to deploy “tens of thousands of carrier-grade access points in high-traffic areas throughout its pan-continental network.”  It has reportedly started building the network in the West African nation of Niger. Plans are also said to be in place for nations such as Burkina Faso, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

US-based wireless infrastructure company, Ruckus, is expected to supply Airtel’s indoor and outdoor high-capacity access points, while telecommunications equipment firm Alcatel-Lucent is to supply the mobile operator with service and aggregation routers and act as the system integrator on the project.

Wi-Fi is used in countries such as the US to supplement high-speed 3G and LTE networks.

According to Ericsson’s most recent Market Report, 85% of mobile subscribers in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are on 2G networks. Africa’s smartphone penetration rates are also among the lowest in the world as just 10% of mobile phone users on the continent use a smart device. But MEA is forecast to have the fastest regional mobile data traffic growth rate in the world over the next five years, according to network equipment firm Cisco.

In the Middle East and Africa, the number of smartphones grew 42% during 2012, reaching 89 million in number, according to Cisco.


Credit: ITweb Africa