In the first agreement of its kind on the African continent, Zain has teamed-up with Ericsson, which will manage most of the network and field operations for the telecommunications providers' wireless networks and operational support systems, serving almost 4 000 sites across Nigeria.

Also as part of the agreement, about 450 employees will be transferred from Zain Nigeria to Ericsson under their existing terms and conditions of service, where they will undergo further development in the latest wireless technologies.
For Zain, the project is and a major initiative within its ACE strategy that will propel it into the world's top-10 mobile telecommunications company by the end of 2011.
An integral part of this strategy is for Zain to execute its 'Drive11' program to increase its focus on managing its customer relationships while improving its control on non-customer facing functions, some of which will be outsourced to strategic partners.
The deal also gives Ericsson its first major managed services opportunity in Africa, in particular Nigeria, reflecting the increased attention of both companies on markets where high customer growth is expected within the next five years.
Chris Gabriel, CEO of Zain Africa, is confident that the outsourcing agreement will have many benefits for the company and its customers. "Choosing Ericsson, which has more than 15 years' experience in managing outsourced networks to help operate our network in Nigeria fits perfectly with our 'Drive11' business objectives of improving efficiency and the quality of our networks and operations.
"As a result, we will be in a far stronger position to dedicate resources and assets to our core business operations, continuing to improve customer support, developing and launching new products, services and mobile applications, and delivering on our Zain brand promise of 'A wonderful world'."
Lars Lindén, president of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, believes that Ericsson's first managed services contract in Africa will deliver significant financial and operational efficiencies for Zain over the five-year term.
"Managing outsourced networks and services are one of the fastest-growing areas in telecoms across the globe, and Nigeria is demonstrating strong growth and increased levels of investment and competition," he says. "The synergies between the two companies will ensure best-in-class network stability and market support."