Airtel Selects Ericsson for 3G Rollout in Niger

Airtel Niger, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has selected Ericsson for the deployment of a 3G end-to-end network to deliver high speed mobile broadband service to the cellco’s customer base. The network, which extends across the country, comprises radio base stations based on the Swedish vendor’s latest multi-standard radio access portfolio, RBS 6000; the RNC 3280 radio network controller; and the latest core technology, which will boost the capacity of the network and transform it with IP functionality. Ericsson says the RBS 6000 multi-standard radio base station substantially reduces power consumption, lowering operational expenditure for Airtel and reducing the long-term environmental impact.

“3G was a must in our strategy in Niger where data penetration is still very low. As a leader in Niger’s telecoms market, Airtel’s ambition is to bring innovative data products and services that will help people and businesses to unlock their potential. Internet connections will never be the same with Airtel 3G service.”

Commented Airtel Niger CEO Raymond Mendy, adding:

Airtel Niger, the local cellular unit of Indian telecoms company Bharti Airtel, was awarded a 15-year licence for the establishment and operation of a 3G network in July 2014. At the same time, the West African country also agreed to renew Airtel’s existing 2G concession, for a total consideration of XOF34 billion (USD69.8 million).

Orange Madagascar

Orange Madagascar, Airtel Preparing to Launch LTE

Orange Madagascar is preparing to roll out a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 2015, NewsMada reports, citing comments by the company’s CEO Michel Barre. Speaking at a press conference in Ankorondrano on 6 February, Barre commented:

“We want to strengthen our leading position in the market of mobile telephony. This is why we are making every effort to develop new products for the purpose of satisfying customers.”

However, Orange has yet to provide a concrete launch date for its planned 4G network.

Orange currently operates a 2G GSM network covering around 85% of the population and a 3G W-CDMA network which covers 150 cities; rivals Airtel Madagascar and Telma also offer 2G and 3G services.

Meanwhile, in related developments, Airtel Madagascar’s Indian parent group Bharti Airtel disclosed in its end-2014 financial report that it has obtained ‘trial authorisation from the [Madagascan] regulator for 4G LTE service based on existing frequencies’, adding that: ‘the operating licence renewal process in underway. The licence will expire on 21 September 2015 and is expected to be renewed for a further period of ten years.’

Newsletter sign up