Africell to expand network backbone in Sierra Leone, Gambia

7 Apr 2009

Africell Holding has selected equipment vendor Harris Stratex Networks to expand its GSM networks in Sierra Leone and Gambia. The deployment of 90 links of Eclipse high-capacity radios, which are optimised for networks with flexible, high-bandwidth capabilities and native gigabit Ethernet interfaces, began in December as part of a contract valued at USD1.9 million. The links will extend network reach into remote areas across the two countries, as well as increase network reliability. The vendor will also supply its ProVision Element Management System, which was developed for managing microwave radio networks, and delivers advanced features for monitoring and controlling time-division multiplexing and Ethernet traffic.

Elias Arwadi, CEO of Africell Holding, said: ‘As the dominant market leader in Gambia and Sierra Leone, Africell is committed to expand into all rural areas and provide the same quality of service through a state-of-the-art national backbone. This investment, especially in the current economic climate, as part of a bigger ongoing expansion, is again a vote of confidence in the market potential of both Sierra Leone and Gambia.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Africell Sierra Leone was the country’s largest cellco by subscribers at the end of 2008 with a total of 615,000, representing a market share of 39.02%. At the same date, the company’s Gambian subsidiary was also the largest operator by customers in its respective market, with a total of 600,000, corresponding to 52.4% market share.