London — NuRAN comes back from near death financial experience to implement its first network as a service contract with Vodafone in Ghana
NuRAN has come out of the financial valley of the shadow of death to announce its first network as a service implementation with Vodafone in Ghana. Russell Southwood spoke to Francis Letourneau, CEO, NuRAN about the company’s new direction.
Newly minted network as a service provider, NuRAN Wireless has announced its first contract for seven sites in Ghana with Vodafone. Two weeks ago the first site went live and the others will follow.
The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down progress on the implementation, as it has been both difficult supplying goods and getting people to go to the site. As a result, it has been just over a year since NuRAN won a GBP330,000 grant as the winner of the GSMA Connected Society Innovation Fund for Rural Connectivity to carry out the work. It will be used to “to test and evaluate their new, innovative mobile internet connectivity solution for unconnected rural communities in Ghana”.
Earlier at the end of October it won a second network as a service contract in Cameroon in partnership with Clear Blue Technologies to supply Orange with its base stations. Phase 1 roll-out across 120 sites will take 12 months, commencing in Q4 2020. The total contract value is CAD 1.45 million.
Network as a Service means that NuRAN provides the telecoms equipment and Clear Blue offers energy-as-a-service. Translation? Both provide the CAPEX and get their return by taking a percentage of the OPEX from the revenues created. The aim is to create “a better return on investment, which reduces costs for rural telecommunications operators”.
NuRAN has arranged risk financing in local currencies with African banks like UBA, Standard Chartered and Citibank on a country-by-country basis and will run its own local ‘opcos’, rolling them out one by one. Speaking after the Ghana launch, Letourneau said the company had faced several bumps in the road with the Ghana implementation but that “a major learning curve has come to an end.”
On 29 October 2020 NuRAN Wireless Inc. announced that it had completed the corporate restructuring process relating to the assignment into bankruptcy of its wholly owned subsidiary and operating company Nutaq Innovation Inc:”In connection with the corporate restructuring the Company purchased all of the assets of Nutaq with the support of its secured creditors and has resumed the entire mobile and broadband wireless infrastructure supply operations previously operated by Nutaq.” As part of that announcement it said:” A second NAAS MOU is still under final negotiation with an MNO in Africa with 600 projected sites over 3 to 5 years.” The assets Nuran Wireless secured included the IP it bought from bankrupt low cost base station vendor Altobridge in 2015 and next year it will launch a product that will work with 2, 3 and 4G.
Letourneau has been pleased by the support the company has received from its clients, system integrators and VSAT providers:”We want to make a social impact over time so it’s great people wanted to keep us alive.”
Burkina Faso’s ARCEP consults on frequency allocation: Burkina Faso’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP) has launched a public consultation on the allocation of spectrum for the provision of fixed internet services. The regulator has invited comments from stakeholders regarding a range of issues, including: the frequency bands, technologies and duplexing mode (FDD or TDD) to be used; the amount of spectrum and the size of the frequency blocks to be made available; the geographic coverage of licences; and the method adopted for allocating frequencies. The consultation will run until 5 January 2021. La Liga chooses Mondia – Orange roll-out: LaLiga has signed mobile technology company Mondia group as its technology and commercial partner for the creation of LaLiga Xtra, its first ever subscription-based mobile platform, to offer exclusive content and experiences to sports fans. Through an agreement with Orange group, the platform will be made available in the coming months to the operator’s millions of customers in its Middle East and Africa regions. This is the initial roll-out of the platform and Mondia will continue to distribute the offering through other partnerships across the globe. MTN South Africa to support e-Sims in Apple and Samsung phones: The company has announced that from December 15 on, several Apple iPhone models and some of the latest Samsung Smartphones, eSim will be supported. Customers will also be able to use the eSim connection with selected AppleWatch models. MTN also confirmed that Apple’s the latest iPhone 12 will be also supported once the device is being launched in South Africa by the end of the year. Sokowatch delivery Tuk Tuks go electric: Sokowatch, the innovative East African e-commerce platform, has announced the groundbreaking launch of electric tuk tuks to its delivery fleet in Uganda, making the vehicles the first to be used commercially in East Africa. Built and assembled by a team led by Sokowatch’s head mechanic and engineer, Mary Nankinga, the new tuk tuks mark a company-wide push at Sokowatch to build cleaner and more sustainable environments in its operating markets. Built by Gayam Motor Works, the Indian EV manufacturer whose clients include Amazon, IKEA and Flipkart, the new fleet of vehicles take just 3 hours to charge overnight and last for approximately 2-3 days. The electric tuk tuks also deliver to an estimated 35 shops per day within 2 hours of orders being placed and can carry 500kg in goods for the retailers. Kwik Delivery (http://Kwik.Delivery/) and Mastercard announce a partnership starting this very day to provide discounts on all Kwik Delivery services to Mastercard cardholders in Nigeria. Mastercard has over 70 million customers in Nigeria, making it the de facto leader on the debit card market in the country. All Mastercard cardholders can benefit from a 10% discount on Kwik Delivery services, subject to terms and conditions, provided that they pay such services with their Mastercard. Discounts are applied as credits on the customer’s in-app wallet. Ghana’s National Communications Authority (NCA) has granted additional temporary spectrum at no cost to MTN and Vodafone to improve their service to customers. The extra 5MHz of frequencies was initially made available to the two cellcos in April 2020 for a three-month period to address a surge in usage during the COVID-19 lockdown. In anticipation of increased demand during the election period and Christmas season, the extra spectrum has again been made available to prevent congestion and keep costs reasonable for consumers.
Sign up for free AllAfrica Newsletters
Get the latest in African news delivered straight to your inbox
Almost finished…We need to confirm your email address.To complete the process, please follow the instructions in the email we just sent you.
There was a problem processing your submission. Please try again later.