Despite the trying business climate, mobile networks are still growing

THE FUTURE, we have been told, is mobile. As that future becomes the present, service providers around the globe are transforming and expanding their networks to support the dramatic growth in mobile broadband, and to wirelessly extend triple-play data services to new subscribers in developing economies and in underserved rural areas.

Harris Stratex, provider of solutions for mobility and fixed network applications, has been operational in South Africa since cellphone technology first arrived in the country. While it has  been low-key, its business is growing strongly across Africa and in Asia. South Africa itself is a relatively small market for the company, but the local branch helps serve the company`s interests elsewhere in Africa.

Harald Braun, president and CEO of Harris Stratex, was in South Africa recently to meet his local business partners.  He told iWeek that Harris Stratex can address all markets and meet any needs mobile service providers may have. This, Braun says, is one of the main reasons that the company is the largest supplier of microwave systems in North America and a top-tier provider of wireless infrastructure solutions worldwide. The company boasts a 50-year history of innovations and industry firsts, and says it is constantly evolving in line with the market`s needs.

"Our revenue streams are distributed across the globe, with North America (33%) and Africa (30%) being two of the largest markets. We have a strong and growing presence in all regions, and customers in over 135 countries have used our solutions for their short-, medium- and long-haul wireless communications systems," he adds.


In a trying business climate like today`s, the company is still growing  he result, Braun says, of increasing mobile requirements and Harris Stratex meeting these needs. "Even in developed markets, there is an emerging situation," he says. "For example, in the US, there are areas with no broadband access. In developing markets like Africa, there are long distances that make communication (and fixed-line infrastructure) difficult. These are problems that are easily solved with mobile networks."

The proof is in the rapid deployment of mobile networks worldwide. Braun cites research that indicates that in 2004 there were one billion subscribers worldwide, but that that number grew by another billion between 2004 and 2007. In 2008, the world had almost four billion mobile subscribers. Data services are showing similar growth, with 34 million mobile data users in 2008 predicted to grow to one billion by 2013. He adds that if the growth continues in line with the current trend, 75% of mobile subscribers will be in Africa.

It therefore made sense for the company to establish an international footprint, and Harris Stratex now has offices in every region. "We focus strongly on localisation because local people understand the unique challenges of each country and can find the appropriate solution more easily. Customer service is the cornerstone of our business, and service is something you can only achieve with face-to-face interaction, so we have to be everywhere our products are," Braun says. "We therefore have a network of local, regional and centralised support teams."


In addition to providing IP mobile backhaul, Harris Stratex has developed solutions designed to enhance the energy efficiency and physical of remote telecommunications sites. Services the company offers cover the complete cycle of network implementation, including analysis, planning, design, systems integration, site build, deployment, network monitoring, training and customer service. Harris Stratex is also accelerating the momentum to full 4G wireless broadband, with a portfolio of WiMax Forum Certified wireless broadband access products.

Tags: Mobile