Malawi Gets First WiMAX Network

Burco Electronic Systems Ltd, an ISP and IT solutions provider in Malawi, has selected Aptilo's WiMAX CSN System for their eWiMAX service, the first WiMAX 16e-based broadband Internet service in Malawi.

The eWIMAX service is now available for residential and enterprise customers in the cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe with mobile Internet browsing at speeds that surpass any current technology available in Malawi.

The deployment is one of the first in the world taking full advantage of the latest WiMAX Forum NWG standard, which allows Burco to utilise a multi-vendor approach to building their network with the most cost-effective components. Currently the network uses radio equipment from RuggedCom (formerly WiNetworks), ASN Gateways from WiChorus and a diverse range of wireless network equipment from a constellation of different device manufacturers. The use of low-cost devices has enabled Burco to expand their business to the residential market and increase their bottom line by better utilising the costly satellite backhaul links during off-business hours.

“We decided from the start that going for a vendor-independent full WiMAX Forum NWG- compliant network design was the only way for us, in order to minimise risks and ensure a healthy competition among vendors,” said Dave Varndell, Managing Director, Burco. “The natural choice of WiMAX AAA vendor was clearly Aptilo as they are delivering a more complete CSN solution which also works seamlessly with the majority of vendors.”

Policy control for the right bandwidth allocation
Aptilo’s Policy Control functionality is of vital importance for Burco, because of the high cost of international connectivity to landlocked Malawi. Burco is also utilising a differentiated charging structure to control bandwidth use between residential customers -- who can enjoy lower prices after office hours -- and businesses that have an exceptional bandwidth allocation during the day.

Aptilo’s voucher management functionality is integrated with ATM machines thanks to Aptilo’s provisioning of unique voucher codes for the different banks’ systems. End-users can refill their prepaid accounts via the ATM system, which is a common way consumers in Malawi pay bills.

“We are impressed to see how a local operator like Burco is one of the first in the world to deploy a truly vendor-independent network architecture according to the latest standards,” said Torbjorn Ward, CEO, Aptilo Networks. “Africa is a strong region for WiMAX in general and for us in particular as many operators appreciate our pre-integrated approach where the benefits of implementing a complete solution, rather than taking a piecemeal approach, are significant.”

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