Cellco MTN Nigeria has announced the start of a USD650 million network expansion which is aimed at providing the necessary infrastructure for 3G services. MTN was one of four cellcos to apply for, and receive 3G licences recently from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), at a total cost of USD150 million. CEO Ahmed Farroukh said ‘the expansion will involve an additional 14 switches being integrated into the current 41 switches in twelve switching centres, while the current 2,661 base stations spread around the country are expected to increase to over 3,500 before the end of this year… Another 252 cities will be added to the network, bringing the total number of cities covered…to 2,490.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, MTN was the most subscribed to network in Nigeria at the end of 2006, with just under 12.3 million customers, giving it a 44% market share.
Meanwhile Globacom, Nigeria’s second national operator which was also recently awarded a 3G concession has contracted French vendor Alcatel-Lucent to supply and install a wireless network based on UMTS/HSPA technology in selected Nigerian cities, including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Benin and Ibadan. The project will enable Globacom to expand the capacity of its network by one million subscribers while offering the next generation of sophisticated new services, including advanced multimedia, mobile broadband and converged services such as video call, video streaming and high-speed mobile internet access on 3G mobile handsets, video telephony, video greeting kiosk and video mail box. Globacom also will introduce high-speed internet and mobile data services to business and residential subscribers through USB modems and data cards. Globacom recently awarded Alcatel-Lucent a major nationwide fixed and mobile network development and IP transformation program that aims to expand its national mobile capacity from its current twelve million subscribers to 35 million by the end of 2007.