MTN, South Africa’s second largest mobile network operator, has won a tender from the City Power, the agency responsible for electricity supply in Johannesburg, to replace ordinary lampposts with ones containing cellular base stations.

The lampposts will be deployed in areas where its 3G and LTE coverage needs improvement and MTN will pay a monthly fee to City Power for each site it sets up.

According to a report by TechCentral the contract allows MTN “to replace any of the approximately 110 000 lampposts throughout the greater Johannesburg region with this specially designed base station infrastructure,” that includes reinforced steel poles that have all of the base station equipment built into them. The new poles are then hooked into the power grid and linked up to MTN’s fibre optic backhaul network.

Because each of the base stations would need to be connected to MTN’s fibre network it would mean that MTN could potentially begin offering fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) solutions and will also allow the company to tender bids for the likes of Parkhurst’s request for a community fibre network. MTN already has a FFTH project at Monaghan Farm near Lanseria airport in northern Joburg where 300 homes have already been trialling its services.

MTN is looking to rapidly deploy its lamppost base station solution with the goal of having more than 100 posts installed in areas such as Bryanston, Sandton, Woodmead, Northcliff, Westcliff, Kyalami and Fairland before Christmas this year.

MTN is not the only company looking for innovative way to get more base stations up by disguising them in innocuous ways as we saw last year when Vodacom showed us their cell tower hidden in a flag pole in the middle of Bryanston.

[Source – TechCentral]