Nokia announced that its 4G and 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network slicing with mobile operator Safaricom on its live commercial network was a success.
This is the first-time 4G/5G network slicing has been successfully achieved in Africa.
The trial used a multi-vendor network environment and included RAN, transport, and core components, as well as software upgrades to a variety of Nokia products and services.
James Maitai, Network Director, Safaricom, said: “We are proud to have hosted Africa’s first successful pilot of 4G/5G FWA slicing on our network, and looking forward to tailoring our service offerings to individual customers and industries, to meet their needs for high-speed connectivity precisely and without unnecessary cost. Nokia’s expertise has been key to this success, and we anticipate many more strategic wins in this area as our business expands.”
Safaricom is now ready to support new types of enterprise network services, such as fast lane internet access and application slicing, thanks to the successful trial. Furthermore, Nokia provides secure FWA slice connectivity to enterprise locations as well as private or public application clouds.
Ramy Hashem, Head of Safaricom Customer Team at Nokia, said: “It is great to have successfully completed this pilot with Safaricom, which is a huge step forward in providing Safaricom with state-of-the-art connectivity. Early experience of new slicing technology is invaluable in understanding the new business opportunities it enables. Nokia was the first vendor to offer a slicing solution and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Safaricom in providing world-class 4G and 5G network slicing services to its customers.”
The multi-vendor pilot, which took place in Kenya’s Western Region, strengthens the two companies’ strategic partnership, with Nokia already providing a wide range of services and solutions. Nokia’s AirScale 4G/5G base stations, the NetAct network management and assurance system, and Nokia’s FastMile 4G/5G CPE were all used in the pilot.
Network slicing allows operators to divide a network into multiple virtual slices, each of which can be optimized for a specific target application or service. Each network slice’s end user can then be served with different priorities, routing, network performance levels, and security capabilities. Slices can be managed and deployed in minutes, and each has key performance indicators that are used to ensure service quality.
Nokia’s 4G/5G slicing solution, which received a prestigious award from GTI 2021 in the category of ‘Innovative Breakthrough in Mobile Technology,’ supports LTE, 5G NSA, and 5G SA technologies while maintaining slice service continuity across networks. Slicing services are now available for all LTE and 5G devices.