Millicom Partnering with Ericsson on Wireless Network
LUXEMBOURG — Millicom is investing $135 million over the next two to three years to upgrade its mobile network, in partnership with Ericsson, in three key Latin American markets.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated "the digital wave" and need for connectivity in Latin America, and Millicom needs additional capacity to manage its increased traffic as it continues to expand its network in the region, according to the company this month.
Across three countries — Honduras, Paraguay, and Bolivia — Mllicom, through its TIGO operations, will expand its network coverage to reach an additional 712 municipalities and 2.5 million people.
The network and partnership
Partnering with Ericsson will enable Millicom to achieve the expansion by modernizing its network with 4G LTE, 5G-ready technology for greater speed and an enhanced customer experience.
The main functionality introduced will be carrier aggregation, which allows the combination of different parts of the spectrum.
Millicom will use the latest Ericsson radio system products and solutions, setting up a path for 5G deployment "across the continent."
As part of the project, Ericsson will also replace TIGO’s current 4G packet core and introduce Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G core. The upgrade is expected to have a "significant impact" on TIGO’s network performance.
“Millicom has a strategy to achieve and maintain network leadership in all the markets in which it operates," said Xavier Rocoplan, EVP, chief technology and information officer, Millicom.
"We want to offer the best mobile experience in the market and connect more people in both urban and rural areas. With this project, we further our purpose to build the best digital highways where we operate, to connect people, improve lives, and help develop our communities.”
Ericsson's president of Europe and Latin America, Arun Bansal, said that with its "drive for innovation," the company is "incredibly pleased to unite with Millicom and bring the crucial connectivity to Latin America, while paving the way towards 5G."
"Working alongside such a prominent telecommunication provider, we double down on our commitment to closing the digital divide globally," Bansail said.
"While the pandemic has changed much more than simply how we communicate, connectivity remains as crucial as ever."
One-third without internet
Thirty-two percent of the Latin American and Caribbean population — or 244 million people — has no internet access, according to the 2020 study "Rural connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean" by the IICA, IDB, and Microsoft.
By prioritizing long-term investments in its networks, Millicom is "fulfilling its commitment" to providing high-quality connections to more people to "bridge this digital divide" as well as strengthening its network in the Latin American market.