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Empowering Africa’s rural communities

President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa

Rural site

President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa

President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa

Despite the rapid growth in mobile communications, commercially viable business models are still lacking in many rural areas around the world. As a result, nearly 3 billion people globally still do not have access to the internet. Communication service providers are working to establish the capacity to extend Information and communications Technology (ICT) services to remote rural areas that currently lack or have limited access, all while ensuring a cost-effective approach. By addressing the financial challenges and implementing innovative approaches, Ericsson designed an initiative to work towards achieving the goal of providing mobile coverage to rural areas in Africa. This will not only improve communication and access to information but also foster economic growth and empower the communities in these regions.

A significant portion of Africa's population resides in rural areas, where the average revenue per user (ARPU) is considerably low. This poses a challenge when it comes to building profitable macro sites. The cost of infrastructure deployment and maintenance often outweighs the potential revenue generated from these areas, making it financially challenging to ensure widespread coverage. In fact, the global energy cost of running mobile networks is about USD 25 billion yearly, making energy consumption one of our industry’s biggest challenges – from both cost and carbon footprint perspectives.

Adding to the complexity, regulatory mandates in many countries require telecommunication companies to provide 100 percent coverage of 2G/3G/4G networks to the entire population. This means that even in sparsely populated rural regions where there is currently no coverage, it is crucial to extend the services.  Building a site that would effectively cover a small population while still being profitable is an expensive endeavor. The capital expenditure required for constructing the necessary infrastructure and subsequent operational costs can strain the profitability of such initiatives.

To address the specific challenges faced by rural villages, Ericsson Rural Site solution encompasses all the essential components required for broadband 4G coverage in rural areas. This holistic approach ensures a seamless and efficient deployment, enabling the provision of high-speed connectivity to underserved communities.

Ericsson Rural Site solution is a comprehensive solution offering various benefits such as:

  • Encompassing all the essential components required for broadband 4G coverage.
  • Providing a cost-effective and reliable infrastructure for complete site installation, allowing for quick and efficient deployment even in challenging terrains
  • Utilizing tailored radio and transmission solutions optimized for these environments while also ensuring robust and high-quality connectivity.
  • Integrating solar panels and batteries as alternative and green sources of power, reducing dependence on traditional energy sources and ensuring uninterrupted service in remote areas.
 Concrete-Free Tower deployment

Constructing traditional towers in remote areas can be expensive and logistically challenging. To overcome these obstacles, Ericsson Rural Site solution incorporates the use of concrete-free towers. These towers provide a cost-effective and reliable infrastructure for RAN (Radio Access Network) installation, allowing for quick and efficient deployment even in challenging terrains.

Tailored Radio and Transmission Solutions

Rural areas often face unique connectivity challenges due to their geographical characteristics. To cater specifically to the needs of rural sites, Ericsson utilizes its tailored radio and transmission solutions optimized for these environments. These solutions ensure robust and high-quality connectivity, enabling seamless access to broadband 4G services in border villages.

Solar and Battery Power

In regions where access to the power grid is limited or unreliable, ensuring a consistent power supply for ICT infrastructure becomes crucial. Ericsson Rural Site solution addresses this challenge by integrating 3GPP solar panels and lithium batteries as alternative and green sources of power. By harnessing renewable energy, the solution eliminates undesired diesel and CO2 emissions and significantly reduces network energy OPEX while ensuring uninterrupted service in remote areas.  


The aim of Ericsson’s comprehensive solution is to bridge the digital divide and empower rural communities with affordable and accessible broadband 4G coverage. By providing these communities with reliable ICT services, we enable them to access educational resources, healthcare information, mobile money opportunities, to provide mission critical support, security resources and other digital tools necessary for their social and economic development.

Today, Ericsson's solution has successfully been implemented by our customers in some African markets, showcasing its potential as an enabler for digital inclusion in rural communities. When connecting people in rural villages, we are enabling them with a vast number of opportunities. As an example, in a recent deployment, people in previously unconnected villages can now enjoy voice calls, mobile financial services and an average 4G (or LTE) downlink data speed around 20 Mbps – enough to stream video or for students to participate in online learning. Achieving 100% coverage in rural areas will bring unprecedented opportunities to communities across Africa. 

Access to broadband 4G coverage is no longer a luxury; it is a fundamental requirement for communities to thrive in today's digital age. Through this initiative, Ericsson is committed to empowering rural communities and fostering their integration into the digital economy.

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Africa in Motion

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