AI: MTN partners with Microsoft, plans to bring new tech to Nigeria

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South Africa’s MTN Group, Africa’s leading telecoms provider, says it is rolling out AI and cutting-edge technologies in Nigeria following its partnership with Microsoft.

MTN Group, owners of MTN Nigeria, says that the five-year strategic partnership, signed in September 2022 with Microsoft, hopes to deliver a programme of work that will deploy the latest technologies for the benefit of MTN customers starting in Nigeria and South Africa.

The programme, MTN Group says, will focus on migrating BSS and OSS applications to the Microsoft Azure cloud to realise operational benefits and cost efficiencies. The establishment of MTN Group Cloud Centre of Excellence and Project Nephos is part of the plan to migrate carefully selected business applications to Azure.

Accenture, a technology implementation, integration and support service provider, will work closely with MTN and Microsoft to successfully enable the migration and operations of the targeted environments, the telecoms giant says.

One of the cornerstones of the programme is the migration of EVA, MTN’s extensive core big data platform, to Azure. MTN will evolve its common data model to enable use cases that bridge typical divides across network, IT, and commercial domains, taking advantage of native Azure capabilities, including machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

The partnership also involves an extensive skills development program in cloud technologies, devsecops, and data management.

Hundreds of MTN employees in Nigeria and South Africa, the telecoms group says, have already benefited from the Microsoft Enterprise Skills Initiative (ESI), which provides hands-on technical training and certification in Microsoft Azure technologies.

Project Nephos, the telecoms group says, built around the principle of delivering maximum value as early as possible through selecting the most suitable applications to be migrated to Azure, has enabled MTN to complete a proof of concept for the world’s first 5G standalone core network solution deployed in Microsoft’s Azure public cloud in just a few weeks.

“Our strategic partnership with Microsoft will enable us to transform the way we deliver products and services to our customers. We will bring the power of cloud computing to life driving development and innovation with speed, flexibility and predictable investments and operations. We remain focused on nurturing the digital skills within MTN and in the societies we operate in and building digital platforms to drive digital transformation across Africa and the Middle East,” Nikos Angelopoulos, MTN Group Chief Information Officer says.

The programme is expected to become a global standard in the industry for years to come, according to Nitesh Singh, Communications, Media and Technology Lead for Accenture Africa.

MTN’s commitment to bringing the benefits of a modern connected life to everyone, coupled with the latest technologies, is set to transform the telecommunication sector in Africa and beyond.