Ericsson has signed the first major managed contract on the African continent with Zain to operate their GSM/CDMA networks in Nigeria.
In the first agreement of its kind on the African continent, Zain, the leading mobile telecom provider in the Middle East and Africa, has teamed up with Ericsson, the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Under the agreement, Ericsson will be responsible for the network operations, field operations including optimization, third-party vendor management for Zain’s GSM/WCDMA networks, and business support systems.
Ericsson will serve more than 4000 sites across Nigeria on behalf of Zain. As part of the agreement, about 450 employees will be transferred, under their existing terms and conditions of service, from Zain to Ericsson, where they will undergo further training in wireless technologies.
The contract gives Ericsson its first major managed services footprint in Africa, and reflects its continued focus on high-growth markets, where most subscriber growth is expected to take place during the next five years. Ericsson and Zain are both well positioned to support the evolution and growth of the local telecom market in Nigeria.
Chris Gabriel, CEO of Zain Africa, says the managed services agreement will have many benefits for the company, providing further thrust for Zain’s ambition to be a top-ten global mobile operator by 2011. “Choosing Ericsson, which has more than 15 years experience in managed services, to help operate our network in Nigeria is perfectly in line with our ‘Drive11’ business objectives of improving efficiency and the quality of our networks and operations,” he says.
“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.'”
Lars Lindén, President, Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, says the agreement will deliver significant financial and operational efficiencies for Zain over the five-year term. “Managed services is one of the fastest-growing areas in telecoms and Nigeria is demonstrating strong growth and increased levels of investment and competition,” he says.
Zain’s agreement with Ericsson will improve network availability and capacity, make the most of Zain’s network investment and reduce operating costs for its 4000 sites across Nigeria. It will further strengthen Zain’s competitiveness by achieving savings in network operations, shorter time-to-market for new services and technologies, and improve quality of service.