Chinese hardware vendor ZTE has announced that it will roll out what it claims will be Madagascar’s first all-IP mobile network for Madamobil, Madagascar’s fourth mobile operator. ZTE is supplying the core equipment and the base stations for the first phase of the network construction, and the infrastructure is based on ZTE’s all-IP environment layered architecture. It includes the latest core based on mobile softswitch and a mobile packet backbone network for data services. The network rollout is reportedly in its final stages and Madamobil will be the only cellco in the country operating on CDMA2000 1xEVDO infrastructure. Commercial launch is expected in Antananarivo by August 2009, with the cellco planning to expand to other cities in the coming months. The mobile operator will operate under the ‘Life’ brand, and is expected to offer services including mobile broadband, music downloads, video telephony, mobile TV and location-based services.
Madamobil is owned by Netherlands-based Life Telecom Holdings and TECOM Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Holdings. The cellco was awarded its licence in June 2008, after Madagascan telecoms regulator OMERT handed it the concession that had previously been held by the country’s first mobile operator, Intercel (originally Telecel).