Connection will be coming to some of the world’s remotely-connected people with the help of ATDI.
Infrastructure company Africa Mobile Networks (AMN) is aiming to extend mobile voice and data networks from the continent’s cities into rural areas in countries from Angola to Zimbabwe.
With a population of just over a billion people, Africa has over 700 million SIM cards, but with most users owning at least two cards, penetration is only about 33 percent, according to a study released in November by Wireless Intelligence.
AMN states its intention with: “The vision is a fully-connected Africa, with no community of any significant size being without basic telecommunications services to deliver social, economic, educational and other benefits to the population – achieved through the construction of many tens of thousands of new mobile network base stations over the next several years, of which AMN aims to build and operate in excess of 5,000.”
To facilitate this, the company has bought planning and modelling software from ATDI to help it establish where base stations need to be sited and to gain the maximum effectiveness from the minimum of new towers.
“No company wants to build more base stations than it has to,” notes ATDI lead engineer Paul Grant, “but AMN has a particular interest in not putting up towers it doesn’t need because it generally has to create a power supply for the tower as well as just making it do its job.”
Mobile communications in rural Africa perform many functions, not least of which is banking. In parts of the world where only a small minority of people have a bank account being connected to a network means they are able to trade, both through sending and receiving payments. In addition, mobile phones are increasingly being used to monitor health and give advice on how to treat illnesses.
“In developed countries, we couldn’t do without our mobile phones,” Paul says, “but in the developing parts of the world they both change and save lives. That’s why we’re proud to be helping AMN expand networks to where they are needed most.”