The Unitel deal with Ericsson is meant to help the MNO meet its targets as relates to mobile broadband growth and increased penetration of applications on smartphones and tablets.
The agreement covers the deployment of new LTE sites, Ericsson’s Home Subscriber Servers (HSS) for user data management. It also includes the integration of LTE functionality into existing provisioning and charging systems, and an upgrade of the core network to a triple-access Evolved Packet Core that simultaneous carries GSM, WCDMA and LTE traffic.
Unitel is the largest telecoms company in Angola with more than 8.8 million customers and coverage in all provinces in the country since 2002.
Under the scope of the agreement, Ericsson is also responsible for the design, implementation and initial tuning of the LTE network.
Miguel Martins, Unitel CEO said: “The recent launch of Unitel’s 4G LTE network powered by Ericsson demonstrates our commitment to providing our customers with the highest standard and state of the art mobile broadband services.”
To maintain its strong position in the Angolan marketplace, Unitel launched Long Term Evolution (LTE) services commercially on December 16, introducing faster mobile broadband speeds, meeting the burgeoning demand for data-driven services and giving Unitel the ability to offer its customers the most innovative services available on the market today.
Lars Lindén, head of Region Sub-Saharan Africa, Ericsson, said: “This deal reaffirms Ericsson’s leadership in LTE and further extends our long-standing relationship with Unitel. The new LTE network will facilitate Unitel’s continued delivery of superior connectivity, services and capabilities to their customers.”
According to a GSMA report, since 2000, the number of connections in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown by 44%, compared to an average of 34% for developing regions and 10% for developed regions as a whole. Angola has shown impressive growth in telecoms and market analysts predict that the number of subscribers will grow 90% through 2014, reaching 15 million users out of a population of approximately 20 million.
Ericsson is the world leader in LTE and today has more than 90 commercial LTE contracts on six continents, of which over 50 networks have already gone live. More than 455 million people worldwide have LTE coverage, of which 305 million are covered by LTE networks supplied by Ericsson (July 2012).