MTN, Huawei in deal to drive digital inclusion, reduce carbon footprints

The tech giants will collaborate to deploy RuralStar, an affordable connectivity solution for providing online access to remote and rural communities.

MTN Group and Huawei have joined hands to strengthen strategic cooperation in the field of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG).

Guo Ping, Chairman of the Huawei Supervisory Board noted that the firm believes digital technology will become an important force driving social development and making the world more inclusive and sustainable.

In the deal signed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, MTN and Huawei will collaborate to deploy RuralStar, an affordable connectivity solution for providing online access to remote and rural communities. The solution overcomes traditional barriers that make network connectivity in such scenarios unviable for carriers.

To reduce carbon emissions, Huawei will support MTN’s commitment to minimize its impact on the planet and achieve net zero by 2040. The partners intend to work on decarbonizing the operator’s telecommunications infrastructure, spanning Radio Access Network (RAN) sites, transport networks, storage, and data centers. This achievement of network decarbonization will be done via a mix of energy efficiency technologies and application of innovative green solutions.

“Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress can only be achieved through the power of partnerships. Working with companies like Huawei, we can pool our technologies and expertise to drive greater access to connectivity, digital skills and greener and more sustainable solutions to the benefit of all,” said MTN Group Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo.

To enhance digital skills training, the Huawei DigiTruck project will provide free training in digital skills for those in need, including those in rural communities, the elderly, the unemployed, and girls and women. Converted from a used shipping container mounted on a truck, DigiTruck is a solar-powered mobile classroom equipped with laptops, smartphones and 4G connectivity.

Another project in the digital skills training area is Huawei’s ICT Academy. It trains university students in ICT skills such as 5G, cloud computing, and AI. There are 1,900 Huawei ICT Academies in 110 countries, serving around 150,000 students a year. The partnership covers working with MTN’s Skills Academy to enhance the link between digital skills training and job market requirements to benefit producers, consumers, and innovators of digital technologies. The partnership seeks to accelerate efforts to reach even more rural and remote communities and to broaden the portfolio of available digital skills training.

With a significant portion of Africa’s population living in rural areas, MTN is committed to expanding its network to underserved communities and has set a target of 95% rural broadband coverage by 2025. MTN’s partnership with Huawei gets the company closer to its goal. The company intends to expand the number of collaborations and the types of partnership models it has in place.


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