Nokia Siemens inks US$130m deal with Celtel
Joint venture company pairs with Mobilink in softswitch deployment deal.
Nokia Siemens Networks has signed a contract worth US$130 million with African telecoms operator Celtel Nigeria, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain, aimed at increasing Celtel's transmission capacity in the burgeoning Nigerian market.
Under the terms of the agreement Nokia Siemens Networks will deploy over 4000Km of fibre optic infrastructure and supply microwave transmission equipment to aid the network operator's eventual shift towards IP technology.
Celtel Nigeria's CEO, Bayo Ligali, said the agreement was a major milestone in Celtel's quest to build a robust infrastructure that will provide a world class experience for its growing subscriber base.
Nigerian country director for Nokia Siemens Networks, Helmut Hochstetter, said the deal was the result of the long-term investment in Nigeria's telecommunications market.
The Nigerian operator is forecasting that its subscriber numbers will triple to 30 million by 2010 after the 2006 $1.3 billion takeover from Kuwait's Zain (formerly MTC) with a further $1 billion investment planned before 2008.
Ligali earlier noted that the deal "represents the fulfillment of a promise by our parent company, the Zain Group, to invest massively in the economy of Nigeria."
He described the contract, as a milestone both in terms of expanding Celtel's network capacity and also attracting direct foreign investment into the West African country.
Industry pundits estimate that by 2009 there will be some of 100 million subscribers in the rapidly developing market.
Meanwhile, the joint venture company has also linked with Orascom-subsidiary Mobilink to deploy the vendor's ‘Release 4 softswitch' solution. Nokia Siemens claims the deal will enable Mobilink to cut its operational expenses and accelerate the rollout of its mobile network.
Mobilink, which is based in Pakistan, hopes to leverage the 3GPP compatible solution to keep apace with the rapidly expanding mobile market there and introduce revenue-generating telephony services and applications into its network.
"With Nokia Siemens Networks' mobile softswitch, Mobilink will be able to add higher capacity to the network, better utilise network resources, reduce costs and offer state-of-the-art services to our customers," said Mobilink's Tamer El Mahdy, chief technology officer.
Nokia Siemen's MSC Server system will provide a common network architecture to support fixed mobile convergence and next generation access technologies, such as 3G, Voice over IP (VoIP) and WiMAX.