from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau Chief
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – MOBILE network operators will play a crucial role in providing the infrastructure ecosystem to enable other industries harness the benefits of digitisation and implement modern solutions triggered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Christopher Hopkirk, Regional General Manager: Western Cape MTN Business, told delegates at the recent Enterprise Forum in Cape Town that mobile network operators would play a key role in helping other industries to unlock value from digitisation and enable them to tap into
These solutions include artificial intelligence (AI) applications, immersive virtual realities, self-driving cars, remote medical surgery, holographic teleportation, drone deliveries, smart agriculture, connected cities and smart logistics.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents an exponential leap forward in science, technology and innovation, and promises to alter every aspect of our lives. However, high performance and scalable networks are a prerequisite for businesses, the public sector and even consumers to truly access and participate in the shift,” Hopkirk said.
He said the connectivity in this new era had expanded drastically – enterprise customers and the public sector now want connectivity in less accessible places like mines underground, in factories located in remote locations, or at far-flung construction sites, while consumer appliances like smart TVs, coffee machines, washing machines among others have
This increased traffic requires mobile network operators to roll out purpose-built networks such as LoRaWAN (a media access control (MAC) protocol for wide area networks) and NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) networks.
To support this exponential increase in data traffic, Hopkirk told delegates that MTN has embarked on a massive, three-year project to modernise its entire network infrastructure across the country to support IoT and prepare its network for the commercial rollout of 5G.
MTN has also invested more than R40 billion over the past four years to improve network coverage and quality to support the connectivity requirements of its customers.
Its 4G network covers over 91 percent of South Africa’s population (56 million), 3G network 98 percent and 99 percent is covered by MTN’s 2G network.
– CAJ News