NIGERIA'S VMOBILE TO INVEST USD2BN ON NETWORK EXPANSION

Telecoms

Vmobile Nigeria has said that it would invest a minimum of USD2 billion in its network infrastructure within the next 24 months for its quality and coverage expansion initiative code-named Project R.O.S.E, "Rolling Out Service Everywhere".

The investment would be used to build at least 3000 base stations around the country and expand network capacity to accomodate a minimum of 10 million subscribers.

Project R.O.S.E entails the construction of additional 4000 kilometres of Microwave Transmission Backbone within the next 24 months. Already, Vmobile has completed 1500 kilometres of major Microwave Transmission Backbone, while an additional 2000 kilometres will be completed in the next six months.

Vmobile said in a statement that it would also increase the number of switches in the company's network from 16 to 28, to create adequate capacity for a minimum of 10 million subscribers by June 2007. However, the core network capacity will be upgraded from 4 million to 6 million active subscribers by the end of July 2005.

In addition, Vmobile the telecommunications company would build more Call Centres in Delta, Akwa Ibom and the Northern states of Nigeria in order to increase the availability of customer care services on a 24-hour basis.

The number of VCare Centres and VStores will also be increased to 100 over the next 24 months to give customers greater convenience and access to Vmobile's offices, products and services.

Project R.O.S.E is progressing aggressively with internally generated cash flow. However, additional funding representing USD 830 million has been received from three sources namely; local Nigerian banks, African Export and Import Bank (Afrexim) and foreign vendor finance provided by equipment suppliers such as, Ericsson, Hauwei, Motorola, Siemens and Harris Corporation.

Vmobile is currently in the process of obtaining additional equity investment, which is expected from ongoing negotiations with strategic core investors. The additional funding will be used to restructure the company's debt and other initiatives in order to strengthen its market position.

During the past one year, Vmobile has restructured its systems and processes including the employment of over 250 Nigerian professionals into Executive and Managerial positions. The management has also received the full support of the Board and Shareholders for its Ethical and Corporate Governance practices. The company is therefore, proud to be one of the leading companies in Nigeria to implement an Ethical and Compliance Code based on the best practice in the world.

Project R.O.S.E will be supported by an innovative SMS competition that will allow Nigerians to vote for their home towns in rural areas to be on the Vmobile network. For the next 24 months, every quarter, three (3) winning towns will receive Vmobile coverage within 45 days from the date of the draw.

Vmobile is already present in all the State Capitals of Nigeria and will further expand this coverage in each State to deliver on the promise of R.O.S.E, "Rolling Out Service Everywhere".

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