Smile Telecoms gears up for Africa LTE

Smile Telecoms has announced the extension of a partnership agreement with Alcatel-Lucent to serve as its sole LTE network provider in its markets in Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alcatel-Lucent will provide comprehensive design, build and operation services for Smile’s nationwide LTE networks as part of a planned five-year partnership to bring true fixed and mobile broadband services to Africa.

Daniel Jaeger, vice-president of Alcatel-Lucent in Africa, said: “We are very pleased to partner with Smile to extend their 4G LTE services in Africa. With the delivery of new in-demand services, Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE solution will allow Smile to grow their business and, at the same time, develop mobile broadband further in this economically burgeoning region.”

Earlier this year, Smile became the first network and services operator to deploy a true commercial 800 Mhz LTE network in Africa.

“Our networks in Tanzania and Uganda have out-performed our initial expectations: Our customers have experienced speeds well in excess of what can be obtained from other operators, and we have seen consistently stellar satisfaction levels,” said Tom Allen, COO of Smile Telecoms in a statement at AfricaCom 2012 in Cape Town.

“We have proven the technology, we’ve tested the business model, we’ve tested market demand and consumer experience, we’ve tested our partnership, and we’ve tested our commercial deployment strategy.”

“Based on our results, the time has come to shift from testing to doing. Smile will be in a position to roll out nationwide coverage of full 800 MHz LTE services in all three of our markets within three years,” he said.

The two companies will launch full geographic and service coverage in Dar Es Salaam and Kampala before the end of Q1 2013, with near-national coverage in both markets as early as 2014, Smile said.

“Our services will include ADSL-type connectivity for businesses and homes, as well as full mobile broadband, at speeds up to 20Mbs. The speed, quality and reliability of these services will allow our customers to experience the full benefits of LTE, including real-time video streaming without buffering, video calls which live up to their promise and a reliable platform for health, commerce and education services. Smile will provide both wholesale and retail services in all of our markets,” Allen finished.

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