Nortel is helping Telkom in its quest to sign up an anticipated 10-million mobile subscribers in Nigeria through the installation and maintenance of a massive wireless network in and around Lagos.
Telkom owns 75% of Nigerian telco operator Multi-Links, which is currently implementing CDMA for voice and EV-DO to provide Nigerian subscribers with broadband data as well.
The initial $42-million contract with Multi-Links for CDMA networking equipment is likely to yield an additional $60-million to $80-million per year in ongoing installation, says Yves Roux, vice-president: Africa at Nortel.
On the back of the Telkom/Multi-Links deal, Nortel has opened a new office in Lagos.
Telkom bought a controlling stake in Multi-Links in April 2007, giving it a foothold in the huge and rapidly-growing Nigerian market.
In June this year, Nortel won the contract to install and grow the Multi-Links' CDMA voice network in and around Lagos, and to overlay it with EV-DO to provide broadband data as well.
Currently, Multi-Links boasts 2-million subscribers on its networks, but it expects to grow this figure to 10-million within the next three years – about twice the number of subscribers that Telkom services in South Africa.
Lagos is the most populous urban area in Africa with more than 8-million people and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of more than 140-million.
However, even with large numbers of potential subscribers, the country has an Internet penetration of only 6,75%, acccording to International Telecommunications Union statistics.
Nigeria is listed by Goldman Sachs as one of the "Next Eleven" economies with high growth potential, and is one of the fastest growing in the world according to the International Monetary Fund.
Nortel’s 1xEV-DO Rev A solution will give Multi-Links the network capacity to grow its subscriber base by bringing wireless communications to more people in Lagos. This broader network coverage is expected to fulfil subscriber demand of people in Nigeria for access to the Internet from work, home and on the move.
"Multi-Links has begun an aggressive rollout program to increase network capacity with plans to provide broadband coverage for 80% of the Nigerian population by 2011 and 100% of the population by 2013," says Justin Ramayia, CEO of Multi-Links.
"We’ve been working with Nortel since our early beginnings in 1996. With this deployment, Nortel is helping to ensure that Multi-Links can meet growing market demand in Nigeria for reliable voice and broadband services that will strengthen our competitive edge."
The combination of next-generation network components provided by Nortel will allow Multi-Links to reliably serve more customers on the same spectrum while delivering advanced broadband services that can enhance the end user experience and increase subscriber loyalty.
The new Nortel network will be based on upgrades to Multi-Links’ current network assets thereby maximizing the value of their prior investments and providing a simple and cost-effective evolution path to 1xEV-DO Rev A.
The faster data rates offered by 1xEV-DO Rev A (up to 3,1Mbps in the forward link and 1,8Mbps in the reverse link) combined with Nortel’s high Quality of Service (QoS) and the Nortel Packet Mobile Switching Centre (MSC) will support 3G services such as video-on-demand, large file uploads/downloads and high performance push-to-talk/see capability.
The Multi-Links network will include Nortel’s Enhanced Base Station Controller, EV-DO Radio Network Controller and suite of base stations that support 1x and 1xEV-DO Rev A. Nortel’s base stations are designed and built with unique innovations in Power Amplifiers and transceivers which provide significant reductions in power consumption while creating a more environmentally friendly network that is less expensive to run.