Etisalat, Gateway Communications ink satellite backhaul deal

13 May 2009

African mobile telecoms service provider Gateway Communications has announced it has been chosen by Etisalat to provide a cellular backhaul for the operator’s mobile network in Nigeria. The deal, worth USD6 million over a two year term, will see Gateway Communications provide satellite cellular backhaul to Etisalat, which will connect three major cities in Nigeria. CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans, said: ‘Given the rapid rate of mobile adoption in Nigeria and what this represents in terms of opportunity, Nigeria is undoubtedly a key market for Etisalat. It was therefore key for us to find a partner that understands both the local market requirements as well as the complete technology landscape across Africa. As the most successful supplier of satellite cellular backhaul in Africa, Gateway Communications has expertise in both these areas. We are therefore confident that our desire to roll out our services across Nigeria in the shortest possible time will benefit from this promising business relationship.’ Gateway claims that with more than 47 transponders of capacity, it carries more satellite cellular backhaul in Africa than any other operator.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Etisalat commercially launched its Nigerian mobile network in seven cities in November 2008 and by the end of the year had just under 400,000 subscribers. The cellco is 40%-owned by UAE incumbent Etisalat, with 30% owned by UAE government investment vehicle Mubadala Development Company, and the remainder by Nigerian investors.