Africell is enhancing the quality and capacity of its network in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a deal to “fiberize” at least two hundred of its cell sites in the country over the next two years.
The agreement with Raga Net, a specialist provider of unutilised (or “dark”) fiber-optic communication cables, will upgrade the transmission technology of selected Africell DRC cell sites, replacing relatively restrictive microwave transmission with significantly more efficient fiber-optic transmission. One hundred Africell sites will be connected in 2023, with another hundred sites scheduled to follow in 2024.
For operators to meet increasing appetite for data-hungry 4G and 5G services, network capacity must keep up. By fiberizing key parts of its network in DRC, starting in Kinshasa, Africell is boosting service quality and ensuring that its network has enough capacity to capitalise fully on Congolese consumers’ growing appetite for data.
“Introducing more fiber into our network is critical if we are to deliver exceptional 4G and 5G services to our customers”, says Milad Khairallah, CEO of Africell DRC. “By partnering with Raga Net and tapping into its resources, we will enjoy the benefits of fiber-optic transmission without the costly and time-consuming process of installing our own fiber cables. Demand for data is booming in DRC, and Africell is now positioned to be the provider of choice”.
In Africa, a relatively small portion of all mobile networks are fiberized. This means that most operators still rely largely on microwave transmission to communicate between cell sites and core networks. Compared to fiber-optic cables, these have a limited bandwidth, which puts a drag both on service quality and operators’ ability to derive revenues from data traffic.
Raga Net offers a solution to this problem by providing access to its network of pre-installed fiber-optic cables, enabling operators such as Africell to integrate flexible and good quality fiber-optic transmission into its network without huge capital expenditure. Raga Net has to date built 250km of high specification metro fiber in DRC and is looking to reach 500kms by end of 2024 to accommodate the 4G demand along with the densification of metro fiber in Kinshasa.
“Fiber is essential condition for the expansion of 4G and 5G services,” says Zaire Versi, founder of Raga Net. “Efficient transmission is a must, and we are pleased to be helping Africell - a dynamic and fast-growing operator in DRC – to earn more data revenues through more and better fiber-based technology”.
Raga Net is a wholesale open access metro fiber operator in Kinshasa . It has a current network of 250 kms and has secured funding to increase this to 500kms by the end of 2024. Future plans are to expand to 700kms. This will enable the MNOs, OTTs, ISPs and other telco players to have access to fiber for their needs without having to build the infrastructure. Raga Net’s current portfolio consist of over 200 sites connected on its network. By the end of 2024 , Raga Net is expecting to connect another 600 sites to reach a total of 800 sites .