Airtel Africa Plc and Mukuru, one of Africa’s largest remittance organisations, yesterday announced a partnership which will enable Mukuru customers to instantly send cross-border transfers directly to Airtel Money customer wallets in 12 African countries.
This partnership will be particularly beneficial for customers making intra-Africa payments from Southern Africa where Mukuru has a leading presence.
Customers also benefit from no longer having to physically go to an Agent to receive cross-border payments. Once Airtel Money customers receive the funds, they can be used to pay utility bills, goods and services, transferred to family or can be cashed out at any of Airtel Africa’s exclusive branches, kiosks and agents.
The CEO, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said “This partnership empowers those without a bank account to be included in the formal financial ecosystem and to move money conveniently, seamlessly and securely.”
He stated that at a time when intra-Africa cross-border payments are of strategic importance, we are pleased to be working together on cross-country mobile money transfers, while also supporting local economies.
Also, the CEO, Mukuru, Andy Jury, confirmed, “This partnership exemplifies the collaborative spirit in which Mukuru is engaging with other industry leaders to provide universal access to cash and digital financial services across the continent.”
According to him, the enablement of digital money transfers between Mukuru and Airtel Africa customers means we can offer greater choice to the hard-working diaspora when providing for their families back home. The freedom to choose the solution best befitting your personal circumstances is pivotal to true economic empowerment.
The partnership, subject to local regulatory approvals, will initially launch in Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will then roll out to subsequent Airtel Money markets.
Nokia and Airtel Kenya Lay 5G Foundations In Nairobi
Nokia announced that it has been selected by African mobile operator, Airtel Kenya in a three-year deal to modernize Nairobi with high speed 4G and 5G-ready hardware from its comprehensive AirScale portfolio.
Deployment, which began in June, will cover hundreds of sites and include upgrading existing 2G, 3G and 4G radio access network (RAN) coverage in urban, semi urban, highways, tourist spots and central business districts in Nairobi and the rest of Kenya.
Nokia’s future-proofed network infrastructure will also offer Airtel Kenya the option to smoothly transition to 5G when necessary. The upgraded network will deliver enhanced connectivity to customers of Airtel Kenya and access to new, high-speed data services.
Nokia is supplying Airtel Kenya with its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including base stations and radio access products. These solutions will enable Airtel Kenya to deliver improved connectivity and capacity benefits including enhanced voice and data services to its subscribers while reducing complexity and driving cost efficiencies. The improved network will provide higher data speeds using additional 4G spectrum bands and provide access to secure, high-speed and reliable data services.
As part of the deal, Nokia will also deploy its cloud-agnostic NetAct software solution to securely manage Airtel Kenya’s networks. Nokia will also provide digital deployment, network planning and technical support services helping Airtel to launch its services faster to the market and ensure customer requirements for quality are met.
P. D. Sarma, CEO, Airtel Kenya, said: “We are in the midst of rolling out our network to enhance coverage along with modernization of our data network that will help us to deliver improved, high-speed data services to our customers. This will allow our customers seamless coverage enhancing their browsing experience further. We are excited to partner with Nokia on this project. Its technology portfolio improves our network quality considerably and also allows us to move to 5G services in the future.”
Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of CEWA Market Unit at Nokia, said: “This is an exciting deal in an exciting market. We are proud to supply Airtel Kenya with our comprehensive AirScale portfolio and support the operator with its efforts to deliver the best possible connectivity experiences to end users in Kenya. In a maturing market, we look forward to helping Airtel execute its strategy in the short-term as well as set it on the path to 5G services.”
Airtel Selects Ericsson to Modernize its 4G Network in Kenya
Airtel Africa is expanding its strategic partnership with Ericsson to enable 4G coverage in Kenya. With Ericsson’s Radio Access Network (RAN) and packet core products for 4G, Airtel subscribers will experience enhanced quality of voice and data.
The network modernization deal, signed in August 2020, is in line with the Kenyan Digital Economy Blueprint Vision 2030 which aims to provide robust connectivity in rural areas and facilitate e-commerce platforms. The modernization deal will drive the simplification and upgrade of the existing network and future-proof it for the anticipated rapid mobile expansion in the country.
With Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core solutions, Airtel Kenya’s network will have 4G coverage, while driving enhanced use cases in both the consumer and the enterprise segments. Ericsson technology shall make the network in Kenya ready for 5G deployment.
Prasanta Das Sarma, CEO at Airtel Kenya says: “Robust and secure communications are an essential component of a digital society in Kenya. We are firmly anchored to the strategy of delivering reliable connections across the country and are looking forward to expanding the high-quality mobile broadband services to our subscribers.”
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Together with Airtel, we will implement this project that aims to establish an advanced LTE network in Kenya, providing Airtel’s customers an enriched experience – both in the consumer and business segments. Through this partnership, we reaffirm our ambition to set #AfricaInMotion by partnering with Airtel to grow and support an increasingly digitalized society in Kenya.”
Furthermore, Ericsson will deploy its Kathrein Mobile Communication Antenna portfolio which will help provide additional enhancement to the network’s robustness whilst Ericsson’s technologically advanced network management system, Ericsson Network Manager will be utilized to support Airtel in managing the network seamlessly by integrating various network elements on single platform.
Rwanda Gets GSMA Nod for MWC Africa 2021
GSMA has announced it will host MWC Africa in Kigali, Rwanda in 2021, bringing the leading global event series to the continent for the first time.
GSMA Director General, Mats Granryd, announced the news during his opening keynote address at Thrive Africa, the GSMA’s virtual event platform, which held from the 29 September to 1 October 2020.
MWC21 Africa will bring together the leading names from business and technology to become the continent’s most connected and influential event. This premier event is part of the GSMA’s flagship series of MWC events, which includes editions in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles.
“I am proud of what we have built with Thrive and the previous Mobile 360 events, which have helped shape the continent’s connected digital future,” said Granryd. “From 2021 we will celebrate MWC Africa, joining our world-leading platform for thought-leadership and technology, recognising the important role Africa will play in our connected future.”
“Around the world, access to mobile internet is helping close the digital divide. Its transformative power is nowhere more obvious than in Africa. That is why I’m excited about welcoming the world to Kigali next year to shine a light on African mobile and tech innovation.”
This year, Thrive Africa will examine the role of connectivity in powering a better future, and how this can accelerate to achieve the best outcomes in terms of health provision, economic benefits and inclusion. Conceived by the GSMA, Orange, MTN, ZTE and Mastercard, Thrive Africa will bring Africa’s leaders together for a virtual event to create the continent’s most connected and influential technology experience. The event is also sponsored by Huawei, Intelsat, MFS Africa and, Safaricom.
During the event, speakers will also discuss Africa’s readiness for the 4th Industrial Revolution: in the next five years, the continent will host 1.3 billion devices and IoT connections, but increased connectivity will be essential to maximise the available benefits.
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