Egypt’s wireless infrastructure is growing fast, reflecting the nation’s commitment to digital transformation. Site-sharing agreements among the four leading mobile carriers help ensure the country’s mobile infrastructure continues to expand while reducing subscriber costs. When Orange Egypt acquired 30 MHz of new 4G spectrum (in the 2600 MHz band), they needed a unique antenna to support the new spectrum and the requirements of the other major mobile operators. They partnered with CommScope.
In 2021, Egypt’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) introduced Digital Egypt, a national strategy to transform Egypt into a digital society. The program seeks to improve the quality of infrastructure, extend service to rural villages and invest in the country’s fiber network. Increasing the number of mobile broadband internet customers touches on all three of those goals.
While Egypt’s mobile penetration is 95%, internet penetration — driven by mobile service providers — is only 57%. To stimulate mobile internet growth, the MCIT’s national strategy encourages shared mobile infrastructure to minimize cost and accelerate the rollout of 4G services. Site sharing and fast deployment were critical requirements in designing the new antenna.
Orange Egypt Chooses CommScope
In selecting a partner to design the new antenna, Orange Egypt not only needed to satisfy the design and performance requirements of all four MNOs, but the antennas also needed to be approved by the country’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA). Orange Egypt had successfully partnered with CommScope to deliver several prior successful projects with the global infrastructure provider.
Working closely with all of Egypt’s MNO’s, the CommScope R&D department soon produced a prototype design. The antenna supports all approved 2G, 3G and 4G frequencies, as well as TDD and site sharing. As a customizable solution, it can be configured with 12 to 32 ports and is upgradeable to provide beamforming for improved capacity and coverage. At the same time, the antenna is easy to deploy and has a surprisingly compact footprint that minimizes wind loading.
Partnership Creates a Win-Win
According to Ayman Amiri, Orange Egypt CTO, the partnership with CommScope isn’t only important for Orange Egypt, but for the country’s digital future.
“With Egypt more dependent on reliable mobile network infrastructure than ever, it’s crucial that we can collaborate with companies like CommScope to ensure we’re delivering optimal network performance for our subscribers. This state-of-the-art antenna design provides the high port count we need to enhance coverage and increase capacity amid site acquisition challenges. It also supports TDD and site sharing, enabling us to continue evolving our network with this futureproof technology.”
Deployment of the new antenna began in the summer of 2020. Its innovative design reflects CommScope’s pioneering contributions to mobile network infrastructure and base station antenna (BSA) technology, in particular. Each year, the company invests more than US$600 million in research and development, with much of that going into BSA technologies.
“Having worked in the Egyptian mobile market for many years, CommScope is very familiar with the specific requirements here. That understanding, plus our strong R&D capabilities, enabled us to create a unique solution that addresses Orange Egypt’s specific needs — now and in the future,” explained Elie Kanakri, Technical Manager for CommScope.
At the same time, the benefits of the Orange Egypt/CommScope partnership extend across the country’s ICT landscape. The innovative results will ultimately help ease site acquisition issues and accelerate the buildout of new sites for all MNOs, while providing more affordable and reliable mobile access.
Sayf Shehatha, Senior Regional Manager for CommScope’s Outdoor Wireless Network division, is excited for what this will mean for subscribers. “We were proud to partner with Orange Egypt, the other mobile network operators in Egypt and the NTRA. This collaboration resulted in a unique, technologically advanced antenna solution that delivers on all requirements. The ultimate winner being the end customer who will enjoy a faster, more affordable and more reliable service.