- Motorola has signed a US$ 75 million GSM expansion contract with one of Nigeria's top-five mobile communications operators, M-tel. The deal will allow most Nigerians to have access to mobile services, according to the companies.
"M-tel is currently re-grouping its business to prepare to lead the business drive for greater growth and penetration in the Nigerian market," disclosed the Chief Executive Officer of M-tel, John Weir, in a statement.
"We want to increase the availability of our network and to expand our network coverage as quickly as possible to support greater subscriber growth. Motorola implemented M-tel's original radio network in 2003 and because of the quality of their equipment and their credibility in maintaining that original radio network, we've been very happy to turn to them again to expand our network further."
The expansion project covers installation, commissioning and the upgrading of sites in the Nigerian cities of Benin, Ikorodu and Yola. With this full turnkey project, Motorola is offering M-tel a solution of Motorola's network integration services to enable rapid and seamless deployment of all network elements.
The country manager of Motorola in Nigeria, Raphael Udeogu, said his company was pleased to win the contract through a competitive tender process. "This contract is a testament of the work Motorola is doing in Nigeria and it demonstrates M-tel's support of Motorola's corporate governance policy," he said.
"Motorola foresees substantial growth potential within the Nigeria market. In 1999 there were 500,000 fixed customers and today there are more than 20 million mobile customers and still, there are many regions that are without coverage," he said, adding that the bulk of the network traffic in Nigeria is voice-centric and the expansion will provide much needed data services such as e-mail and internet.
"The agreement with M-tel reinforces Motorola's continuing commitment not only to Nigeria but to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Motorola is strongly positioned to provide quality wireless networking solutions in Africa, with local presence, expertise and capability," Mr Udeogu concludes.
It is predicted that Nigeria, which is Africa's most populated country, is set to lead mobile phone market in the continent in 2007, surpassing South Africa. Also, the Nigerian mobile subscriptions will exceed 30 million at the end of 2006, recent market research had established.
Currently, Nigeria is seen by sector analysts as "a very competitive market" with four GSM players and five CDMA networks actively involved in the mobile field.
And as of September 2006, Nigeria counted 25 million mobile users, with MTN leading the market as it held a 41 percent share. Globacom and Celtel respectively controlled 29 percent and 24 percent of the market, while M-tel was only at 4 percent. Of all mobile users in Nigeria, the five CDMA networks represented only 2 percent.
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