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Tue 4 Dec 2007 04:00 AM

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Celtel Nigeria in US$70 million rollout

Pan-African outfit and US vendor pair again for a turnkey contract.

Celtel Nigeria, part of the Zain Group, has placed orders worth up to US$70 million with Motorola to ramp up its network infrastructure in the south of the country.

The turnkey contracts will see Motorola deploy EDGE GSM solutions to Celtel's subscribers, enabling services such as mobile data as well as network expansion planning.

The tie-up also allows for enhanced network integration, support and optimisation services, as the operator aims to roll out its services in the densely populated and strategically important oil- producing region.

"Celtel's aggressive growth strategy, rapid expansion and strong focus on quality make it imperative for us to work with a vendor that can provide us with high performance, reliable GSM solutions and services," said Adebayo Ligali, CEO, Celtel Nigeria.

The latest orders come in addition to Celtel spending $50 million on previous turnkey expansion projects earlier in the year.

In addition, Celtel also announced the expansion of its ‘One Network', the world's first borderless mobile network, to feature an additional six countries including Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

These countries now join the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in the network that was initially launched in September 2006.

In other news, Zain Group CEO Saad Al Barrak recently visited Tanzania where he met with the country's president and other delegates to discuss the role of telecoms services to attract foreign investment in developing economies.

He used the trip to highlight recent research study conducted by the London School of Economics that claimed an extra 10 mobile phones per 100 people in a typical developing country leads to an additional 0.59% points of growth in GDP per person.

Zain Group officials also cited other research indicating that for every job created in the mobile telecom sector, as many as eight other jobs are created in different sectors of the economy.

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