MTN and Huawei's newly inaugurated tech lab in South Africa will focus on 5G, AI 

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April 18, 2024
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2 min read
MTN and Huawei
  • MTN Group and Huawei have officially launched the Technology Innovation Lab in South Africa, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both parties in February at MWC 2024. 
  • The partnership aims to reduce the time it takes for MTN's products and services to reach the market. It also aims to improve rural network coverage, increase energy efficiency, and make it more affordable.
  • The innovation lab will conduct research and development in areas such as 5G and 5G-A technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, cloud computing, FTTH, automation, and digital finance.

The Technology Innovation Lab is expected to foster cross-regional collaboration, thereby stimulating the African digital ecosystem and encouraging increased development, deployment, and adoption of innovative solutions.

In addition, the Technology Innovation Lab will serve as a hub for experimentation, demonstration, and skill development. The lab is said to have state-of-the-art facilities and resources designed to support cutting-edge research and development initiatives. 

The lab is critical to MTN's transition from a traditional telecommunications operator to one that provides "comprehensive" technology services.

MTN's operational teams will not be left out of the innovation process; instead, they will actively participate to ensure that the solutions developed directly address real-world challenges.

Ralph Mupita, President and CEO of MTN Group, emphasised the importance of the innovation lab, saying, "It is about solutions born in Africa, for Africa." 

Cao Ming, President of Huawei's Wireless Solution, stated that Huawei "will collaborate with MTN to create leading products and solutions for the African market, and jointly explore new business models to lead the industry forward."

While the newly inaugurated innovation lab aims to foster skill development, MTN South Africa also has a digital skills hub, launched in December 2023 to combat unemployment by training people, creating jobs, and expanding employment opportunities.

Furthermore, this is not the first time the telco has collaborated on 5G connectivity projects. In March 2024, MTN Group collaborated with Omnispace, a US satellite broadband service provider, to improve its mobile network on the continent and gain "access to secure, cost-effective, ubiquitous 5G mobile connectivity." 

While the Omnispace collaboration aimed to improve the telco's mobile connectivity, the recent partnership with Huawei will see the development and deployment of 5G solutions, among other things.

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