Transforming lives: Insights from new network launches in Angola & Yemen

Transforming lives: This blog post provides a transcript of, and images from, the presentation made in the main auditorium at MWC Africa by Gwen Edwards, Marketing Director at Digis Squared. Presented in the Network Modernisation session on Day One of the conference, 25th October 2022.

The presentation focuses on two key Digis Squared Managed Services projects.

Also available as a standalone white paper.

MWC Africa 2022 – Network Modernisation session

Main auditorium, Kigali Convention Centre, Day One of the inaugural MWC Africa.

“With the ever-evolving and rapid advancements in technology, network transformation will be key for delivering next generation services. How are communication service providers across Africa, enhancing their capabilities to offer seamless connectivity and better digital experiences to their customers? How are they utilising cloud, virtualisation and AI to address the challenges of the region, from usage gap to decarbonisation? Join us as we answer some these questions, while also exploring Open RAN ambitions and the steps needed to prepare the network for web3.”

Transforming lives: Insights from new network launches in Angola & Yemen

Thank you, I’m delighted to join you here today.

I’ll be sharing insights into some of our recent projects transforming and launching new networks in Yemen and Angola, and how these projects are transforming lives.

About us

Digis Squared is an independent UK company, focused on Managed Services, System Integration, and Consulting.

We’re 6 years old, and our senior staff have worked in the telecoms sector for decades for vendors and operators.

We develop our own vendor-agnostic AI tools in-house, have strong processes, and about 200 staff across Africa and the Middle East.

And we’re the only non-Network Equipment Manufacturer delivering end-to-end Managed Services.

Similar, very different

The projects I’m sharing today focus on two operators, covering end-to-end managed services from pre-launch through to full launch and network operations.

Angola and Yemen have geographically challenging topography, plus their own logistical and societal complexities.

The projects are similar and very different.

Both projects delivered real change and transformed connectivity for communities.

Aden, Yemen

This is Aden, in the southern tip of Yemen, looking towards the Presidential Palace over on the left with the flag. Behind the white barriers in the centre is the football pitch.

Many of the photos I’m using today have been taken by our staff. We want to share with you a sense of place and insights into our projects and what we’ve achieved.

Yemen is complex

Before the conflict in Yemen, telecoms was second only to oil and gas in generating revenue and foreign currency for the government.

After almost 8 years of conflict, over 23 million people need humanitarian assistance, and
over 5 million are displaced.

In such a disrupted society, the need for reliable communications between families and communities is vital.

But, the networks supported only legacy 2G voice and text messages – no WhatsApp, no email, no search, no apps, no interconnect, and no roaming. With incredibly limited and patchy coverage, and significant network instability there was almost no mobile data, and even person-to-person calls were unreliable, making it very difficult to keep in contact with loved ones inside the country and internationally.

Difficult terrain

As part of the country’s re-construction mega-project, the Yemeni Government in Aden assigned 4G licenses to Y-Tel.

Digis Squared won a competitive tender and was selected to deliver the entire major transformation program. The old 2G legacy systems were dramatically upgraded to best-in-class, cloud-based solutions – 4G at launch, with 5G ready elements.

I’m worried I’ve made that sound easy! The local Digis Squared team on the ground in Yemen used our processes and AI tools to assess what was needed, and working together with our remote teams, they defined the strategy and services, co-ordinated and selected vendors, and managed contracts, logistics and warehousing. They used our smart network planning tools, managed the physical network rollout and optimization, the back and front office implementation, network commissioning and dimensioning, everything through to network operations. We worked together with Y-Tel, the Ministry of Telecommunications in Aden, and the GSMA to drive delivery of the new network.

As part of this huge program, we established a NOC in our Cairo GNOC to ensure operational excellence and resilience. And we continue to carefully balance local and remote skills by investing in on-site training for a new generation of Yemeni engineers.

Re-calibrating an over-used term: digital transformation

This project is huge.

We have entirely transformed the capability, stability and capacity available, and delivered every element of the new 4G network for Y-Tel.

The Digis Squared Operations Team in Yemen have been enormously committed to the project, working in very difficult environments, 24 hours a day to achieve key targets within specific windows.

I would like to publicly thank them and acknowledge the impact their work will have on connectivity between communities in Yemen.

In June this year, we completed the on schedule first call, and the first 4G data connection, and the first ever mobile video call in country. These are massive milestones for our client Y-Tel and the local Digis Squared Team in Aden.

It is hard for us now, in this room here in Kigali, to imagine or remember life without mobile connectivity. The certainty that you can phone a loved one, and so much more: the ability to place an order via your phone, to send a photo to a friend, to make a video call and check your Dad is ok – we take all of this for granted.

The impact the project will have on the people of Yemen is hard to express. This project in Yemen re-calibrates the term ‘digital transformation’. The connectivity we are delivering for Yemen will truly transform lives, and improve the functioning of society.

Be connected. Be fast.

The “first calls” made in June mark the start of network operations and pave the way for the phased roll-out of infrastructure and portfolio of customer services.

The Y-Tel pre-launch marketing campaign is underway, and focuses on simple, straightforward commitments: be connected, be fast.

As the only non-Network Equipment Manufacturer delivering end-to-end Managed Services for mobile networks, this project in Yemen is very significant for the Digis Squared team.

If we can do this in Yemen, we can do this anywhere.

Luanda, Angola

Turning now to the second half of the presentation: Angola on the southwest coast of Africa. A very different place, but with some surprising similarities in population size and age. Civil War-ravaged Angola for 27 years until it finally ended in 2002.

Africell’s mission

In January last year, 2021, Africell won a competitive international tender for a telecoms license. Their mission was simple: to provide innovative, affordable and reliable mobile services, and lead a digital transformation in Angola – a country which has experienced decades of stasis and under investment in the mobile sector.

Fast forward to November last year: after a competitive international tender, Africell awarded Digis Squared a multi-year contract to provide end to end Managed Services to support their launch.

We moved fast. We created a local legal entity, set up an office, and in just one month mobilised and hired forty-four engineers, from Angola locally and across Africa.

Digis Squared has worked with Africell Group in other OpCos – in DRC, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, plus Uganda in the past – delivering enhancements to radio, core and VAS.

In Angola the end to end Managed Services contract covers everything from field to full NOC, all aspects of Radio, Core, BSS, VAS and field managed services, across the entire brand new network.

In April this year, the Africell Angola 4G mobile network went commercially live. Within 6 months Africell Angola had over 5 million subscribers. This is a significant success together for Africell and Digis Squared, and a significant transformation in service for subscribers.

5G boost to economy & innovation

In July, just 4 months after launch, we supported Africell in publicly demo’ing 5G for the first time in Angola, reaching speeds of 1 gigabit per second. 

Angola has one of the most advanced economies in sub-Saharan Africa, and the future rollout of 5G and private networks has the potential to boost the economy, drive innovation, security and performance even further.

Working together, we are looking forward to enabling that future 5G transformational capability.

Connecting communities

Today, network rollout is progressing and soon Africell Angola will expand to include cities and regions outside Luanda.

This project has been technically complex in scale and ambition, but the impact on people’s lives, and the ability to deliver change is very real.

Mobile services in Angola have never been faster, lower cost or more reliable.

Making change happen, together

Africell launched services in Angola in April this year with a promise to shake up the telecoms sector and lead a nationwide digital transformation.

As the first new mobile operator in almost two decades, the introduction of fresh competition has already led to improved network quality and security, reduced prices and increased consumption, and is delivering benefits for digital inclusion, education and healthcare.

Whilst Digis Squared has worked in over 25 countries in Africa and the Middle East, this project was our first in Angola, a new country and culture for us, and Africell.

Investing in the local team, using our solid existing processes and automated AI tools, balancing expertise in country, with experienced staff in our other offices when needed, we’ve been successful in setting up and delivering quickly, and delivering on schedule.

Africell Angola promised to change and make change happen, and together, we’ve done that.  


And what have we learnt from these projects?

  • Working in an almost war-zone is hard, but can be done.
  • Finding balance between staff in country, and a remote GNOC helps ensure stability, robustness and continuity.
  • Clear focus on aligned mission, and trust in working together is vital to success.
  • Building strong local teams, and investing in and enhancing skills, competence development and training, is really important to the way in which we work, and a clear commitment from the Digis Squared team to the project, the client, and the country we are working in.
  • In such a competitive market we are the only non-Network Equipment Manufacturer delivering end to end Managed Services, covering preventive and corrective maintenance in the field, up to full NOC including core, billing, charging and VAS.

When we are driven by the power of connecting people, together we can achieve anything.

With thanks to Africell, and Y-Tel.

As presented by Gwen Edwards, Digis Squared’s Marketing Director, at MWC Africa 2022.

If you or your team would like to discover more about our Managed Services capabilities, please get in touch: use this link or email


Discover more


Image credits



About Digis Squared

Managed Services, System Integration & Consulting.

We transform telecom networks, deploy new technologies, and manage vendors, for network operators, service providers and regulators. Apply our vendor-agnostic expertise, automated AI-led tools and processes to transform your technical and commercial capabilities. We work with agility, deep experience, and our in-house cognitive tools to optimise and manage multi-vendor networks across all technologies.

Headquartered in the UK, Digis Squared has offices in Angola, Egypt and UAE.

Digis Squared ◦ Enabling smarter networks.

Product update: INOS used in Pre-Launch Testing for Africell Angola Network

As part of the recent successful commercial launch of Africell Angola, the Digis Squared AI-tool INOS, powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, was used as a key part of the network cluster testing and acceptance process. Digis Squared’s Key Account Manager for Africell, Ahmed Ma’moon, shares more.

“Digis Squared manages the entire end to end Managed Services for the new Africell Angola mobile network*. Ahead of the commercial launch on 7th April, and working closely alongside our partners, we ensured that the network was tested robustly before launch.”  [*Read more about that, here.]

“Whilst the capabilities of our vendor-agnostic tool, INOS, are extensive, in the pre-launch phase of the Africell Angola project, its major role was in field optimization following the SSV (Single Site Verification) and sites acceptance phase. The team used INOS devices out in the field in vehicles to collect network performance data for all live sites. We were able to optimise our resources too – thanks to the ability to remotely update scripts, we didn’t need to send engineers out into the field; the INOS kit can be driven to a specific location and along a predefined route by anyone, and the data is automatically uploaded into the cloud immediately.”

What is a mobile network cluster?

Mobile network coverage is often drawn as a honeycomb-like pattern of neatly meshing hexagons.

In reality, the coverage is not neatly tessellated hexagons, but very irregular shapes, due to the landscape, buildings and other features, and coverage from adjacent cells may overlap, or there may be some thin gaps. Mobile network planning engineers allocate different frequency bands (also called channels) to neighbouring cells – this helps to minimise interference even when coverage areas overlap slightly. The group of cells on different bands is known as a cluster.

INOS for Cluster Optimisation

Ahmed continues, “Working from Digis Squared’s offices, our engineers were able to control and update scripts remotely, push revised routes to drivers, and review data live in the cloud during the tests. During the pre-launch phase we ran field measurements using INOS for Luanda province clusters and sub-clusters, undertook the analysis to identify coverage issues, implemented optimisation changes live on the network, and then re-tested and benchmarked the results against the initial data.”

Above: Example INOS dashboard for field measurements used for analysis and optimization

“INOS’ AI-capabilities ensure that analysis of vast amounts of data is completed very rapidly – within 15 minutes of uploading data – so we were able to assess the results, implement fixes and re-run the tests very swiftly.”

Above: Sample coverage analysis algorithms in INOS

Comprehensive pre-launch testing to optimise for post-launch excellence

“INOS was a vital tool for us in the pre-launch field optimization activities for Africell Angola, to ensure best network coverage and performance, and excellent user experience after launch. INOS helped to speed up the field optimization process for all Luanda clusters, and complete the work in advance of the scheduled launch date.”

INOS & Intel

“INOS was a vital tool for us in the pre-launch field optimization activities for Africell Angola, to ensure best network coverage and performance, and excellent user experience after launch. INOS helped to speed up the field optimization process for all Luanda clusters, and complete the work in advance of the scheduled launch date.”

INOS can be implemented as a public or private cloud, or on-premise solution, and is also available as a “Radio Testing as-a-service” model. Its extensive AI-analysis and remote OTA capabilities ensure speedy and accurate assessment of all aspects of network testing: SSV, in-building and drive testing, network optimisation and competitor benchmarking, across all vendors, network capabilities and technologies, including 5G, private networks and OpenRAN.

INOS is built with compute resources powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors.

In conversation with Ahmed Ma’moon, Digis Squared’s Key Account Manager for Africell Group.

If you or your team would like to discover more about our capabilities, please get in touch: use this link or email .

Discover more

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.

Image credits: all images, Digis Squared

Optimising Africell mobile networks during Covid-19

In this case study, Bassel Mashaka, RAN Senior Manager at Africell Group, and Ahmed Ma’moon, Digis Squared’s Account Manager for Africell Group, describe how Africell’s mobile networks were optimised remotely and safely during the Covid-19 pandemic. They share details of the cooperation within Radio, Field Optimisation and Core Optimisation Services, that were successfully delivered in 2020 – including +85% improvement in mobile data downlink throughput in most improved cells – and talk about the expanded scope of the teams’ collaboration in 2021.

Africell, one of the fastest-growing mobile operators in Africa

Africell provides voice, messaging, data, mobile money and other integrated telecoms services to over 12 million subscribers in 4 countries. It has over 60% of the market in Sierra Leone and The Gambia, and up to a quarter of the market in Democratic Republic of the Congo (including in Kinshasa, the capital city). In January 2021 Africell won a competitive international tender process for a telecommunications license in Angola, and has announced a target to launch services in Angola by the end of 2021.

Optimising Africell mobile networks remotely during Covid-19

At the start of 2020, as the pandemic struck, workers and students had to rapidly adjust to working from home where possible. Mobile data demand shifted in new and unpredictable ways and mobile network operators and service providers had to sprint to keep up.

Ahmed Ma’moon reflects on this time: “It was at the start of Q2 of 2020 that Digis Squared was selected by Africell Group to undertaken network optimisation work. When talking with Bassel Mashaka about how to confront the challenge, we appreciated the Africell team’s willingness to collaborate and consider new ideas – including undertaking the network optimisation work remotely, using Digis Squared’s cloud-based tools, putting an unprecedented emphasis on health and safety.”

Bassel Mashaka recalls, “The optimisation work we completed with Ahmed and the Digis Squared team ensured we could support our customers as normal working patterns were turned inside out and efficient digital communication between family and friends became more important than ever. The teams worked quickly and unfussily to optimise our networks’ performance. Together, with Digis Squared, we positioned Africell to be able to withstand unpredictable changes in demand and kept our customers connected throughout the pandemic.”

Case study ◦ Optimising Africell mobile networks during Covid-19, safely and remotely

Ahmed shares more about the early stages of the project: “Following previous work we had undertaken for Africell, and the early achievements in terms of network performance and customer experience, Africell awarded Digis Squared contracts for band re-farming and frequency planning services. This new project was focused on two operations, where we worked on preparation ahead of LTE expansion.”

“Working safely and remotely, the Digis Squared team delivered an over-achievement in the band re-farming service in Sierra Leone. Our team were able to re-farm more bandwidth than the planned portion without affecting the re-farmed band.”

“Driven by the successful co-operation between the two business in Radio Services, Africell then mandated Digis Squared to work on the Core Network Optimisation Service in Sierra Leone. Throughout, we also undertook targeted activities to improve network capability.”

“The Digis Squared achievements in 2020 were acknowledged by the Africell Teams and Senior Management in Radio and Core Domains”, Ahmed says. “We are pleased that this hard work led to the renewal and expansion of the network support services contracts for 2021, covering Radio Optimisation, Field Testing and Optimisation, and Core Optimisation.”

Mohamed Hamdy, Chief Commercial Officer at Digis Squared added, “The technical success that the Digis Squared team has delivered for the Africell Group is a great example of the type of collaborative, and long-term relationships our teams build with partners. I’m proud to look back on how their expertise, combined with perseverance during pandemic and cloud-based Digis Squared tools ensured that we could remotely deliver these achievements for Africell, and help them to ensure their customers and communities remained connected.”

In conversation with Bassel Mashaka, RAN Senior Manager at Africell Group, Ahmed Ma’moon, Digis Squared’s Account Manager for Africell Group, and Mohamed Hamdy, Chief Commercial Officer at Digis Squared.

If you or your team would like to discover more about our mobile network optimisation capabilities, please get in touch: use this link or email .

Keep up to speed with company updates, product launches and our quarterly newsletter, sign up here.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.


  • CQI Channel Quality Indicator
  • CSP Communications Service Provider
  • DCS Digital Cellular System (GSM-1800)
  • DL downlink
  • DRC / RDC   Democratic Republic of the Congo / République démocratique du Congo

Image credits

Intel case study | Video & TCP optimisation for Tier 1 MNO

As mobile data usage continues to increase globally, it becomes ever more vital to ensure that mobile network infrastructure is optimised to maximise data throughput efficiently and continue to deliver excellent customer Quality of Experience. This case study looks at some recent System Integration work Digis Squared delivered to a Tier One Operator in the Middle East, which achieved over 30% improvement in mobile data downlink throughput.

Data growth – why optimisation will always be vital

Forecasts of mobile data growth are based on difficult to imagine numbers: exabytes.
1EB = 1 exabyte = 1000000000000000000 bytes = 1,000 petabytes = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes

Digis Squared comparison of global mobile data traffic forecasts, source data [1] and [2]

Whilst mobile data forecasts vary significantly – in the data set shown above, Ericsson and Cisco have a 75% variance in their 2026 forecasts – it is clear that mobile data traffic will increase significantly in the next 5 years.

With over 106 5G network launches so far globally [5], 5G is forecast to account for as many as 1.2 billion connections by 2025 [6], and the GSMA estimate over 20% of these mobile connections – a substantial amount of this mobile data traffic – will be carried over new 5G networks by 2026.

Global 5G network rollout, [5] [7]

Data varies by source, but today video traffic is estimated to account for over 60% of all mobile data traffic, and some forecasts project it will increase to 77% by 2026 [1]. Therefore, the ability to optimise mobile data traffic, particularly for video usage, is of great importance to Communication Service Providers (ComSPs), and this is primarily achieved via the optimisation of TCP.

Video & TCP optimisation: vital for delivering excellent customer QoE

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), is the key transport protocol for all internet traffic; it drives video streaming, file transfers, web browsing, and communications. Additionally, it establishes and manages traffic connections and congestion, handles transmission errors, and enables us to share resources with billions of connected devices, globally, simultaneously.

TCP is ever-evolving, to address new issues and continually improve optimisation as new technologies are deployed. Without efficient tuning, TCP can cause more optimisation issues than it solves. An optimised TCP implementation delivers increased goodput (lower error rate in data throughput), improved network efficiency, high TCP transfer speeds, lower retransmission rates, and more consistent TCP round-trip times – and who doesn’t want all of that?! All of this translates into improved Quality of Experience for customers, and as our expectations of device experience continue to rise, TCP becomes ever more vital.

With mobile data traffic rising exponentially, the increasing pace of 5G deployment, and growth in data-intensive video calls, video content and online gaming, the need for CSPs to optimise their network has never been greater.

Intel case study | Video & TCP optimisation for a Tier One Operator in the Middle East

In 2020 Digis Squared was selected by a Tier One Operator in the Middle East to manage the entire System Integration of end-to-end services and implementation for video and TCP optimisation on top of the packet core, over 3 core sites.

The solution implemented by the Digis Squared team was built with compute resources utilising 2nd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors.

Yasser ElSabrouty, Digis Squared Co-Founder and System Integration Business Unit Director, explained that “Selecting Intel processors ensured we could confidently deliver the performance and reliable scalability that is vital for efficient and demanding TCP optimisation.  Customers’ expectations of QoE continue to escalate. The pandemic has normalised video interactions far faster than any forecast. We are all experiencing more video calls for communication to mitigate lack of in-person interactions with friends, family, clients and colleagues due to lockdowns and changed working practices. Plus, there is far greater use of video on social media and content platforms as we try to alleviate boredom and entertain each other. As 5G rolls out, people will expect continued improvements – buffering, patchy connectivity, dropped video calls all immediately impact network reputation. Maintaining efficient and optimised TCP requires solutions built on expertise, investment and the right equipment.”

“Working for this Tier One client, the Digis Squared team project managed the integration of this solution, selecting and managing vendors, implementing all elements of hardware and software, and optimising the solution to deliver the maximum efficiencies across the data network.”

“The project delivered considerable benefits to the client, and end customers. The Digis Squared project team benchmark data measured,

  • a 27% increase in processing cores [3]
  • 50% increase in bandwidth over previous generation Xeon processors [3]
  • 30% down link throughput enhancement, thanks to the data traffic optimisation achieved. [4]

We’re really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve for this client, knowing that their end-users will benefit from improved QoE that they can really see.”

In conversation with Yasser ElSabrouty, Digis Squared Co-Founder and System Integration Business Unit Director.

This article appeared first on the Intel Network Builders blog.

Additionally, it is available as a stand-alone white paper here.

If you or your team would like to discover more about our System Integration capability, video and TCP optimisation, or other elements of mobile network optimisation, please get in touch: use this link or email .

Keep up to speed with company updates, product launches and our quarterly newsletter, sign up here.

Digis Squared, independent telecoms expertise.


  1. Ericsson: Mobile data traffic outlook
  2. Researchgate (Cisco)
  3. Dell EMC Spec Sheet
  4. Digis Squared project data (first published in this blog post)
  5. GSMA Future networks
  6. GSMA Future networks
  7. GSMA Intelligence Global Mobile Trends 2021 Report


  • CSP Communications Service Provider (ComSP)
  • EB exabyte = 1000000000000000000 bytes = 1,000 petabytes = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes
  • TCP Transmission Control Protocol

Image credits

  • Digis Squared social media and blog banner image: Linda K Nicely
  • The Intel® Network Builders logo and graphics are copyright and trademark Intel.
  • The “digis2” logo is copyright and trademark Digis Squared Limited.