Ericsson Enables Africa's First EDGE Network

3/26/2004 - Ericsson has been awarded a USD 32 million contract to supply cellular equipment and services to Scancom, the leading telecoms operator in Ghana.

The deal will see Scancom implementing GSM networking technologies, including Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Multimedia Messaging Service functionality (MMS) over the African continent's first EDGE-capable network. The EDGE services will be available for clients that need added services in future.

Scancom, a subsidiary of Investcom, a holding company with subsidiaries in eight African and Middle Eastern countries is already commanding 67% market share in Ghana. It is growing steadily and expanding the range of services on offer to clients. As a result, it introduced last week a new numbering plan to cater for its soaring subscriber base and is updating its equipment to ensure it can effectively handle future capacity.

The new equipment order from Ericsson will provide the Ghanaian operator with additional capacity, new services to offer clients as well as an extra layer of reliability - and the potential to expand their network far beyond any other operational network in Africa.

The contract was signed in February this year and the company hope to begin rolling out the equipment in May. The deal not only focuses on the equipment sold to Scancom, including mobile system controllers (MSC) and base station controllers (BSC), but also includes the services required to ensure all equipment is integrated into the existing network and functions at peak performance levels.

"Business and competence consulting is also part of the contract," says Jan Embro, Vice President and General Manager, Ericsson Market Unit South Africa. "Scancom needs to ensure its equipment is put to the most optimal use to ensure it can offer the widest coverage as well as the best service. Ericsson has therefore also been tasked with assisting in radio network assessment and tuning tasks."

"We are committed to bringing the latest mobile technology to the Ghanaian public and continuously improve our network coverage and quality," says Ahmad Farroukh, Managing Director, Scancom (Spacefon). "Ericsson has established itself as the leading supplier of mobile solutions globally, and they are also the number one provider in sub-Saharan Africa."

The new deal is an expansion on the current exclusive supplier relationship between Scancom and Ericsson. The global communications organisation is also responsible for Scancom's training and network maintenance.

"The contract confirms Ericsson's lead in the African GSM, MMS and EDGE market, where we currently hold about 40% of the market share," concludes Jan Embro, Vice President and General Manager, Ericsson Market Unit South Africa.

Ericsson is shaping the future of Mobile and Broadband Internet communications through its continuous technology leadership. Providing innovative solutions in more than 140 countries, Ericsson is helping to create the most powerful communication companies in the world.

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