Pakistani mobile operator Mobilink, a subsidiary of Egyptian telecom services provider Orascom, says it has selected Paris-based vendor Alcatel to expand capacity on its GSM-900 network by a million users, in a deal worth EUR14 million. The French equipment manufacturer will supply its Evolium solution, comprising high volume, high capacity mobile switching centres, enabling the cellco to offer enhanced mobile voice and data services to end users nationwide. Mobilink has been offering wireless services since 1994 and was the first operator in Pakistan to introduce a fully digital network: it claims to be the leading player in the market with more than a million people signed up to various packages, such as post-paid (Mobilink Star) and pre-paid (JAZZ) solutions.
The news of the contract coincides with a separate announcement from Alcatel that it has sold its prestigious headquarters in Paris, along with its offices in Madrid and a components factory in Belgium, as part of plans to raise EUR1 billion through assets sales in 2003. The group has agreed a sale and leaseback deal with German property investment company KanAm Grund Kapitalanlagegesellschaft, in a deal which has been conservatively estimated at around EUR200 million. The Spanish HQ has been sold to US-based Colony Capital, while the Belgian factory in Hoboken will be transferred to Finnish company Scanfil Oyj.