TELECOMS

Etisalat, Gateway Communications ink satellite backhaul deal in Nigeria

Gateway Communications, Africa's leading provider of telecommunications services to mobile operators, has been awarded a contract to provide Etisalat with cellular backhaul for its Nigerian mobile network. The deal, worth $6 million over a two year term, provides satellite cellular backhaul from Gateway Communications to Etisalat which will connect three major cities in Nigeria.

In awarding the contract to Gateway, Etisalat considered qualities such as high quality of service rendered, secure and reliable network services with local, on-the-ground support services available throughout Nigeria, amongst other criteria. Gateway has Nigerian offices in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano and provides technical support throughout the rest of the country. With more than 47 transponders of capacity, Gateway carries more satellite cellular backhaul in Africa than any other operator.

Nigeria is now the largest telecoms market in Africa by subscriber numbers. The Nigerian regulator reports over 64 million SIMs in operation at the end of January this year, with 23 million new subscribers signing up in 2008. This represents a growth of 55% in 2008. With a relatively low mobile penetration, a large population and a rapidly growing economy forecast to grow at almost 8% again this year, Nigeria is certainly one of the continent's most exciting markets.

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