ZTE Corporation is rolling out a state-of-the-art all-IP mobile phone and data network for a newcomer to Madagascar, mobile operator Madamobil. The network rollout is currently in its final stages, with ZTE supplying the core equipment and the base stations for the first phase of the network construction. Madamobil expects to launch services by August 2009 in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, and to expand into other cities in Madagascar.
Madamobil, which will offer services under the “Life” brand, is the only mobile broadband network operation in Madagascar operating on CDMA 2000 1X/EVDO. ZTE’s deployment of CDMA 2000 1X/EVDO networks will allow Madamobil to offer its subscribers not just “crystal-quality voice services but also high bandwidth services not currently offered by the current GSM operators” such as mobile broadband, email, music downloads, video telephony, mobile TV, content and location based services, e-commerce, multicasting (one-to-many) multimedia content delivery, advanced and streaming multimedia, customised data for both corporate and retail, videoconferencing, distance learning and telemedicine.
The highly futuristic core network, as it is described, is based on ZTE's layered architecture which is currently an all IP environment, and includes the latest core based on Mobile Soft-switch; a robust Mobile Packet Backbone Network for data services; and a billing platform using intelligent network technology to deliver innovative pre-paid and post paid services to users with the shortest time-to-market as well as to allow Madamobil to charge differentially for both voice and data.
“...In the wider scheme of things, we view this as the beginning of a fruitful relationship with ZTE in our efforts to further develop our footprint in Africa, both in CDMA and GSM and future evolutions of both technologies,” said Amit Jain, CEO of Life Telecom Holdings.
Life Telecom Holdings plans to invest in the acquisition and roll-out of five to seven other mobile telephony licences in Africa over the next two to three years and expects that its capital spend over the next five years will be well in excess of US$500 million. Life Telecom Holdings will continue to seek partnerships with equipment providers such as ZTE in view of expanding its subscriber base throughout Africa.
* Madamobil is owned and operated by Life Telecom Holdings (a telecom investment and management firm based in the Netherlands) in partnership with TECOM Investments (a subsidiary of Dubai Holdings, one of the largest institutional investors in the Middle East). Life Telecom is in turn part of the Life Emerging Markets Capital Group, a private equity group active in African telecoms and infrastructure projects and which set up Life Telecom to capture growth opportunities in the booming African telecom sector. Ultimate aim is a pan-African telecom footprint that will achieve market-leading position in each of the countries where it is present.