TTCL rural backhaul project

Cell tower with sunset sky in back

In Tanzania, around 19 million people access the internet through mobile devices each year. The Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTCL Corporation) looked to increase that number even further by offering their GSM services to rural and remote parts of the country.

The Challenge

The aim was not only to increase mobile penetration rates, but also to offer 2.75G data services to a new market that was previously underserved, giving their rural customers the same opportunities as people who live near fixed infrastructure in more built up areas.

Africa as a continent faces a challenge to connect rural users due to the nature of the landscape. Often the CAPEX required for fixed infrastructure to serve rural settlements that are beyond the main towns and cities is commercially non-viable for mobile network operators. Whilst microwave backhaul is an option in some locations, in many instances line of sight or distances involved require expensive and fragile multiple hop links.

TTCL came to the realisation that satellite was the most cost efficient and quickest means of connecting these rural areas and commissioned Avanti to run a 2.75G POC at their site in the rural and historic town of Bagamoyo, the capital of the Bagamoyo district.

The Solution

Avanti were able to quickly install a VSAT terminal at TTCL’s selected base station that would backhaul 2G traffic from the site back to their core network using Avanti’s HYLAS 2 satellite link. This was done using iDirect’s X7 modem providing 2Mbps uplink and 2Mbps downlink.

TTCL Backhaul diagram

The Results

Avanti were able to demonstrate over a 1 month period that our highly resilient and secure satellite and ground network were able to successfully meet all of TTCL’s requirements, backhauling traffic from the remote site in Bagamoyo into the TTCL core network.

Avanti were immediately commissioned to deploy VSAT services at a further 10 remote locations across Tanzania. Within 1 month, the new sites were installed and operating services have fully met TTCL requirements, delivering annual availability of 99.9%.

TTCL are now working with Avanti to add more 2G sites to their network, as well as rolling out 3G services in rural and remote areas, expanding their market and reach across Tanzania.

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