Gateway Communications has been awarded a contract to provide Nigeria's Etisalat with cellular backhaul for its Nigerian mobile network in a deal worth $6-million over a two-year term. The network will connect three major cities in Nigeria.
In awarding the contract to Gateway, Etisalat considered qualities such as high quality of service rendered, secure and reliable network services with local, on-the-ground support services available throughout Nigeria, among other criteria.
Gateway has Nigerian offices in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano and provides technical support throughout the rest of the country.
With more than 47 transponders of capacity, Gateway carries more satellite cellular backhaul in Africa than any other operator.
Nigeria is now the largest telecoms market in Africa. The Nigerian regulator reports over 64-million SIMs in operation at the end of January this year, with 23-million new subscribers signing up in 2008. This represents a growth of 55% in 2008. With a relatively low mobile penetration, a large population and a rapidly growing economy forecast to grow at almost 8% again this year, Nigeria is certainly one of the continent's most exciting markets.
Commenting on the business relationship, CEO Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans says: "Given the rapid rate of mobile adoption in Nigeria and what this represents in terms of opportunity, Nigeria is undoubtedly a key market for Etisalat. It was therefore key for us to find a partner that understands both the local market requirements as well as the complete technology landscape across Africa.
"As the most successful supplier of satellite cellular backhaul in Africa, Gateway Communications has expertise in both these areas. We are therefore confident that our desire to roll out our services across Nigeria in the shortest possible time will benefit from this promising business relationship."
John Dindlebeck, MD of Gateway Communications Nigeria, adds: "Gateway Communications has been working in Nigeria for over 10 years now and has always considered West Africa as an important market. In that time, Gateway has gained a deep understanding of the local market and has created a tremendously strong business across the region.
"As the largest provider of independent satellite services in Africa, we're confident that we have the expertise on the ground as well and the world class technologies to meet Etlisalat's exact requirements."