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Zain to outsource mobile network operations in East Africa

Zain is streamlining its operations in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. A strategic five-year plan vested in NSN is intended to modernise a network which must be ready to serve a customer base now at 9 million...

Zain is streamlining its mobile network operations in order to improve quality of service and increase efficiency. As part of this process, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has been awarded a strategic five-year contract to optimise, modernise and manage Zain’s over 3,000 multi-vendor mobile networks sites in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The operator currently serves over 9 million customers across these three countries.

 This contract marks NSN’s biggest multi-vendor outsourcing case in the region and it is one of the first supplier swap Managed Services deals of its kind in Africa. NSN will also implement its Energy Solutions programme within the Zain network to “reduce operating costs and power consumption by exploiting more efficient technology for an efficient and sustainable growth across multiple East African countries.” Its off-grid site solution combined with Energy OPEX management are key components included in the deal.

 As part of the agreement, approximately 350 Zain employees who work on networks operations in these three East African countries are planned to transfer to NSN. They will transfer with employment terms which are as favourable as their existing terms and will undergo further development and training in the latest wireless technologies.

As part of the contract NSN will also provide optimisation services and deploy its latest mobile soft-switching and subscriber data management solutions. Its prepaid and top-up solution based on charge@once select will ensure a “faster introduction of new services and pricing bundles.” NSN will in addition deploy 2G and 3G radio networks with the Flexi Multiradio Base Station, opening a smooth evolution path from 2G and 3G to LTE with just a software upgrade needed.

Building on the company’s market-leading Flexi platform, the software-definable Flexi Multiradio Base Station enables customers to run GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA/HSPA+ and LTE concurrently in a single unit. With the lowest energy consumption in the market the Flexi Base Station also underpins Nokia Siemens Networks’ commitment to environmentally sustainable solutions for radio access networks. The company’s energy solutions and energy OPEX management will drive sustainable OPEX savings over five years while enabling reduction of the carbon footprint of the network. The so called off-grid site solution is built using batteries, cooling cabinets, generators and includes optimised point solutions to provide connectivity in off-grid/bad-grid areas while modernising the installed base for energy efficiency.

Chris Gabriel, CEO of Zain Africa, said he was confident that the outsourcing agreement will have a far reaching impact on the company and its customers. “Choosing NSN to help operate our networks in East Africa fits perfectly with our Drive11 business objectives of improving efficiency and the quality of our networks and operation,” he said. “As a result, we will be in a far stronger position to dedicate resources and assets to our customer-facing activities, continuing to improve customer support, developing and launching new products, services and mobile applications, as well as delivering on our Zain brand promise of A Wonderful World.”

* Zain operates across EMEA, providing mobile voice and data services to over 70 million active customers as at 30 September, 2009. In terms of country footprint, Zain has a commercial presence in 23 countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria,  Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages mtc-touch on behalf of the Government. In Morocco, Zain owns 31% of Wana Telecom through a joint venture.

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