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Published 04 June 2019 in 5G FWA
Tags: Nigeria, Africa, FWA, fixed wireless access, mmWave, 5G

The CBNL Team

CBNL showcases mmWave 5G FWA in Nigeria

We recently took to the road to visit two of our longest-standing customers in Nigeria, MTN and Vodacom, for whom we have been providing mobile backhaul and fixed wireless access services now from as far back as 2006. With an impressive footprint in Nigeria and throughout Africa, these customers are instrumental in providing the region’s businesses and residents with crucial connectivity, so these bi-annual visits have become an important forum for us to connect in person as we partner to develop connectivity solutions for future of this country.

This year’s roadshow presented us with an opportunity to share an overview of CBNL’s current business roadmap, give an update on our latest services and recent projects, and introduce the latest additions to our market leading product portfolio – VectaStar Edge and VectaStar 600 Flex. Designed specifically to address the emerging fixed wireless residential access and smart city markets, these new products were a focal point of the visit as together we discussed what the future of broadband technologies and what the next generation of wireless connectivity will look like for Nigeria.

According to the ITU’s 2018 State of Broadband report, Africa’s fixed broadband market is worth a staggering $5.7B, though strikingly 97 per cent of existing connections across the market are delivered on expensive, ageing copper infrastructure rather than fixed wireless technology, which is capable of delivering a more reliable, higher-performing network architecture at a lower cost than the existing infrastructure.

Whilst Nigeria is in many ways a microcosm of the wider African landscape, lower regional average revenue per user (ARPU) along with pressure from local government to deliver reliable connectivity to the unconnected is creating a unique set of challenges and is driving operators to search for solutions that are capable of delivering better performance at a lower cost. This is where cost-effective, easily deployable point-to-multipoint (PMP) networks can provide an appealing alternative for sustainable fixed wireless connectivity across the region.

Since we first entered the region in the early 2000s, CBNL has been establishing a pedigree working with operators in Nigeria and across Africa to roll out reliable networks that leverage point-to-multipoint technology using mmWave. Addressing some of the region’s specific pain points, mmWave Fixed Wireless Access can offer operators fibre-equivalent performance at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). What’s more, these networks are considerably quicker-to-deploy, providing operators with a more flexible solution that can quickly scale to meet future demand and growth.

As we continue working in Nigeria, the ability to provide on the ground support and training remains a top priority as the industry anticipates the commercial rollout of 5G and the advent of smart cities. The city of Lagos in Nigeria, one of Africa’s first cities to embrace smart technologies, is home to one of our many Centres of Excellence, a local hub from which we provide crucial training for local engineers and deliver technical support to help our customers maximise the profitability of their own network.

Beyond the borders of Nigeria, CBNL has a local presence on the ground in South and East Africa, with reach into Ghana, Cameroon, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To date, CBNL serves 25 customers in 17 African countries, delivering PMP networks and turnkey services and acting as a key infrastructure provider for the region’s leading operators.

If you would like to discuss any of our latest updates in more detail or find out how CBNL could help your business, please do contact us at

Published 09 August 2012 in Events
Tags: Global Business Summit on ICT, Africa, Cambridge, Innovation

Dr John Naylon, Chief Technology Officer, CBNL

With London 2012 in full swing there is no doubting the Games have brought a tremendous feeling of positivity across the UK capital.

Last Friday I was able to witness this first hand as some of the shining lights of innovation gathered for the Global Business Summit on ICT to showcase what UK business has to offer in innovation and creativity.

ICT Enabling London 2012 was one very topical area of focus, along with (what is very close to our hearts) a session on ‘Broadband everywhere’.

Broadband everywhere featured seminars from industry leaders including UK Broadband, Telefonica UK, Openreach, TalkTalk and NEC.

I was fortunate enough to be able to present my perspective which centred on how innovative technologies like CBNL’s point-to-multipoint (PMP), which were first adopted in emerging markets, are now gaining traction in developed markets due to the explosion in mobile broadband.

You can watch a recording of the ‘Broadband everywhere’ session here, my presentation starts at 1.21.54.

A lot of our early success as a company was in emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for the mobile network operators has always been lower than in developed markets.

This makes cost effective technology like PMP very attractive to these operators. 



In order for the business case for the network as a whole to stay within the bounds of that low ARPU, they have to deliver bits of information to the user’s handset in the most cost effective way possible.

The really interesting phenomenon we can observe now, given the explosion in mobile broadband, is that developed markets are starting to see this same pressure. 

It arises not because the ARPU for developed market users is dropping – it is more or less static – but because each of those users is consuming more and more bits of information.

Therefore each of those bits has to be delivered in a more and more cost effective fashion. 

So we’re seeing the innovations like ours, that were first adopted in developing markets, being rolled out in developed markets for next generation networks.

A recent stat from Cisco paints a great backdrop to this data demand and of CBNL’s own growth - last year's mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000 (incidentally the very year CBNL was founded).

I don’t think I have ever seen any projection that says that data growth is going to tail off or plateau, so the challenges continue to grow in proportion to the user expectation. 

More and more innovation in all parts of the network will be needed to keep up, and we’re very excited to be a part of that.

Published 12 January 2012 in 5G FWA
Tags: Africa, 4G, 3G, LTE

The CBNL team

Developing markets playing leapfrogDuring the height of the high-tech bubble, many wouldn’t have guessed developing markets would showcase future technology and innovation. But when it comes to the telecommunications industry, this trend is appearing.

With the lack of legacy infrastructure and tight regulatory controls, planning and deployment of mobile networks can be very fast in developing markets compared to equivalent networks in developed markets.

Technologies such as mobile phones can be dropped into developing countries without having to build expensive infrastructure and can therefore completely disregard the failings of old 19th- and 20th-century technology.

The Economist has indeed been quoted as saying “poor countries will leapfrog into the next generation” and evidence can be seen of commercial development when Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao recently proclaimed “we’re an emerging markets company”.


Playing leapfrog

As well as developing markets being early adopters of technology, native companies in such markets are quickly beginning to rival those multinationals we are all familiar with in the developed markets when it comes to innovating.

In 1995, only 15% of the world's mobile subscribers were in developing markets, but by the end of 2010, this has jumped to 79%.

Such growth has driven innovation and now means that Huawei and ZTE, for example, are making more patent applications than all other network equipment suppliers combined.

With commercial LTE coverage already having appeared in a total of nine developing markets by the end of 2011, perhaps telecoms expert Alan Quayle had a point when he wrote “the developed markets need to start innovating like the developing market!  Else be left behind.

Published 30 November 2011 in 5G FWA
Tags: Africa, Nigeria, Training, Network design

The CBNL team

Our new Centre of Excellence in Lagos, Nigeria has officially opened which provides local telecoms engineers with dedicated training and resources to plan and install CBNL microwave transmission equipment and networks.

"We’ve been a part of the phenomenal success of the growth of the African mobile market over the past five years and the opening of our Centre of Excellence in Nigeria is testament to our commitment to the region and our investment in the people of West Africa."

says Vincent Chirouze, Sub-Saharan Africa Manager, CBNL.

The training provides engineers with a certified accreditation that offers a solid grounding in the telecoms industry - covering aspects such as network design, installation and testing - and could stand them in good stead as the industry continues to boom in Nigeria.

Published 30 November 2011 in Cambridge
Tags: Africa, Comberton Village College, Mozambique

The CBNL team

Students from Comberton Village College have returned from their school exchange programme to Africa with many amazing teaching and cultural experiences.

The CBNL sponsored programme has seen students from a college local to our UK HQ visit schools in South Africa and Mozambique to help teach lessons and get involved in school life.

We catch up with student Martha Hallett-Morley...

"South Africa 2011 was the absolute trip of a lifetime.

"In just three and a half weeks we experienced so much of a country that has so much to offer. We experienced the wonderful South African culture: the food, the music, the dancing; we pony trekked across the snow tipped mountains of Lesotho where we stayed in the little of huts of Malealea; and spent a weekend in the contrasting sunny beaches of Durban – with shark infested waters!

"We made some wonderful friends there and visited some amazing places.
"The time we spent in Edendale Primary and High, taught us a great deal about the culture and school system of South Africa.

"We were able to compare our school to theirs and, whilst gaining some great teaching experience, we were able to share some English traditions.

"For many of us the highlight of the trip was spending our evenings in the orphanage, with Virginia, Keitu, Gontse, Dipuo, Lucky, Thabang and Bassiame. We got incredibly close over the two weeks we spent with them, and it brought many tears saying goodbye.

"They taught us a great deal, and we definitely left a strong impression on each other. I know most of us are planning to return in a few years and visit them again.

"Despite having heard wonderful things from previous years, South Africa managed to defy expectations in every way, and proved to be a truly life-changing experience."