MTN Group and NEC Corporation have announced the successful deployment of Africa’s first 400G optical transponder solution, Phoenix.
A statement from MTN said “This initiative marks a significant milestone for the telecommunications industry in Africa, with the potential to revolutionise the way optical networks are built and operated, thereby transforming internet delivery across the continent.”
Phoenix is part of the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) Open Optical and Packet Transport (OOPT) project group, a collaborative effort involving multiple telecom operators and technology providers. The solution has met TIP’s rigorous test requirements, earning it a Controlled Environment Silver Badge, indicative of its readiness for deployment.
“We are thrilled to receive the Silver Badge recognition from TIP, acknowledging our commitment to promoting open and disaggregated solutions with the Phoenix optical transponder,” said Sou Satou, Senior Director of the Network Solutions Business Division at NEC Corporation. “Our dedication to TIP and the development of open products in the optical transport market remains a top priority for NEC,” she added.
The deployment of Phoenix is designed to accelerate internet connectivity and optimise network operations, thereby democratising access to information. It aims to make affordable internet more widely available across Africa, fulfilling a critical societal need.
Demonstrating its commitment to innovation, MTN has embraced this state-of-the-art technology, integrating it into its production network, specifically across its optical network between Johannesburg and Centurion in South Africa, further demonstrating the technology’s interoperability and backwards compatibility.
“The deployment of Phoenix with NEC Corporation is a significant step toward fulfilling a crucial promise to our customers, to deliver accessible, reliable, and fast internet,” said Amith Maharaj, Executive – Network Design and Planning, MTN Group. “This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to embrace the latest technologies available that ultimately empower communities across Africa,” he added.
Phoenix is a network device, known as a white box L0/L1 transponder, that can transmit data at speeds of up to 400 gigabits per second. Its disaggregated nature allows it to be programmed to run any vendor’s software, offering operators unprecedented flexibility in hardware and software selection. This disaggregation leads to cost reductions, accelerates innovation, and enables quicker and easier deployment of new network services.
“Disaggregation is the future of networking, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this evolution,” said Anthony Laing, General Manager of Networking at NEC XON. “Through our partnership with MTN, we’ve established NEC XON as a trusted leader in disaggregated networking.”
By leading in the adoption of Phoenix, NEC Corporation and MTN Group are setting a precedent for telecom operators worldwide, offering a scalable and cost-efficient solution that meets the burgeoning demands of a digitally connected society.