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.
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- 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