MTN Nigeria has commenced a comprehensive network modernisation and swap-out exercise that is expected to cover its extensive network across the country over a span of nine months.
Corporate Services Executive for MT, Mr. Wale Goodluck, who dropped the hint in Lagos at the weekend, said "The network modernisation and swap-out project is part of the $1.3b investment we have earmarked for 2012."
The exercise will entail upgrading and replacing key network components with newer versions for enhanced capacity and much improved quality of service.
According to Goodluck, the exercise had been planned for several months, but commenced over a month ago after intensive planning.
"Our local team working closely with our technical partners and experts began work in April. They have done much of the backend work preparatory to the actual swapping of network components in the days ahead," Goodluck said.
He added that the project would involve three technical partners, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE, and would be carried out at night to minimise impact on the quality of service.
In addition, he said the exercise would be done in clusters, such that select base transceiver stations (BTS) in disparate parts of the country would undergo simultaneous upgrade to further ensure that the negative impact of the exercise would be brought to its barest minimum.
He said that while there may be slight inconveniences to subscribers in certain areas, especially at night during the implementation of the project, customers would generally be ushered into a new era of enhanced service quality upon the completion of the project.
According to him, sporadic network congestion episodes brought on by unusual congregation of subscribers in a particular location as a result of sporting events, religious events or traffic gridlock could be instantly resolved remotely from MTN network monitoring and management office.
Giving details of the project, MTN Chief Technical Officer, Mrs Lynda Saint-Nwafor said the modernisation and swap-out exercise would affect all aspects of the network from radio to transmission and core network.
She added that the power generation would also be affected as the operator would be swapping existing power systems at most of the sites with hybrid power system which is environment-friendly.
According to her, the company should have about 4000 sites on hybrid power system by the end of the year, up from the current 2000 sites.
Saint-Nwafor disclosed that a contract had been signed with end-to-end telecommunications solutions provider, Ericsson, to optimise 3000 base transceiver stations across the country.
At the end of the exercise, the BTS will operate at peak performance, significantly improving customer experience on the network, she said.
She explained that in some locations, especially where security situation would not allow the team to work at night, there would be temporary service difficulties in the course of swapping equipment and optimising the network.
She implored customers in such areas to bear with the company, assuring that such temporary pains would usher in a new era of enjoyable services and thrilling experience.