Multi-Links Telecommunications Ltd. and Nortel Networks* [NYSE/TSX: NT] announced today the commercial launch of Africa's first, next generation wireless network, which will position Multi-Links to reach more than 500,000 customers in Lagos, and will support future expansion of wireless services into other parts of Nigeria.
The CDMA2000 1X Wireless Data Network, deployed by Nortel Networks, will enable Multi-Links to significantly boost network capacity to accommodate a greater number of voice calls. The network will also enable high-speed wireless data and secure Internet services like mobile Web browsing, e-mail access with attachments, and other advanced wireless services.
"Our new next generation network will enable us to offer the highest quality services to our voice subscribers, as well as create opportunities for Nigerians to enjoy a new kind of Internet experience," said C. K. Ramani, chief executive officer, Multi-Links. "Today's launch is truly an historic event. Our entry into next generation networks will forever change the way Nigerians communicate and interact with each other."
"Multi-Links is a perfect example of the benefits wireless can bring to markets like Africa, where low fixed line density and challenges in meeting busy hour call demand make wireless a very attractive solution," said David Balducci, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nortel Networks. "Nortel Networks CDMA2000 1X Univity* solutions have positioned Multi-Links to offer more sophisticated voice services, and to drive new revenues through data services."
Less than two percent of Nigeria's population of 130 million people has access to fixed telephone lines, according to Pyramid Research. The wireless business model provides a highly economical method to extend voice services to the region. And with the introduction of wireless data services, many Nigerians will soon have the opportunity to experience the Internet for the very first time.
Under a supply agreement signed in June 2002, Nortel Networks was selected as the sole supplier of CDMA2000 1X radio and IP (Internet Protocol) core infrastructure equipment to Multi-Links. The Wireless Data Network launched today creates networking efficiencies that can help Multi-Links drive down operating costs while enabling data access at speeds up to 153 kilobits per second.
The deployment extends an ongoing relationship between the two companies. Nortel Networks was also the sole supplier of TDMA network equipment to Multi-Links.
Products from Nortel Networks Univity Wireless Data Network portfolio deployed for Multi-Links include Univity CDMA Metro Cell radio base station (BTS), Univity CDMA Base Station Controller (BSC) and Univity CDMA Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN) equipment.
Nortel Networks Univity CDMA technology is designed to maximize existing customer investments in spectrum and infrastructure, accommodate subscriber growth, and help service providers drive down capital and operating costs. A leader in CDMA since 1995, Nortel Networks has designed and deployed CDMA networks over varying terrain and population densities for more than 65 operators across 17 countries, including more than 35,000 3G-ready base stations. Nortel Networks is currently implementing CDMA2000 1X with leading operators around the world, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS and Bell Mobility in North America; Pelephone in Israel; SMARTCOM PCS in Chile; SERCOM in Guatamala; Telstra in Australia; and APBW in Taiwan.