MTC brings in Ericsson for Sudanese operation
MTC Group has signed a US$100 million contract with the Swedish supplier for network expansion to its Mobitel unit, part of the US$500 million investment planned over the next five years.
Kuwait-based operator MTC has signed a US$100 million contract with Ericsson for the development of Mobitel, its operation in Sudan. The network expansion deal will see the Swedish supplier add capacity for an additional 1.5 million subscribers across the East African country.
According to Khalid Muhtadi, general manager at Mobitel, the investment is just a fraction of the total expected over the coming years. “We have started by addressing the most critical asset Mobitel, which is the network. With this expansion we will be able to serve an additional 1.5 million customers as planned by end of 2006 and we intend to further expand network capacity by an additional 1 million by the first quarter of 2007.”
Muhtadi claims that over the next three to five years, US$500 million will be invested in Mobitel’s network, with the aim to support a targeted customer base of 7 million by 2008.
In February 2006, MTC upped its stake in Mobitel from 39% to 100%, acquiring the remaining 61% for US$1.33 billion. According to MTC, Mobitel is now MTC Group’s second largest operation in terms of revenues and profitability behind MTC-Vodafone in Kuwait.
Mobitel is the number one mobile operator in Sudan with over 2 million subscribers, a rise of 70% over the past year. Bashair Telecom, which had 302,900 subscribers as of the end of January 2006, is the country’s only other operator. Mobile market penetration stands at around 7%.