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Ericsson's LTE Network in Nigeria

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Leading telecom services provider Ericsson (ERIC) has been selected as the principal vendor by Nigeria-based telecom provider, Smile Communications, for deploying the LTE (Long Term Evolution) radio network, leveraging the multi-standard RBS 6000 family of base stations and the compact and fully integrated AIR (Antenna Integrated Radio) Antennas. These apart, Ericsson will also provide Evolved Packet Core network solutions. Financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Smile Communications is one of the leading telecom companies in West Africa and is also the first company to launch a 4G/LTE broadband Internet service in 2012 in Africa. Yesterday, Smile announced that it has launched 4G/LTE network on an 800 MHz spectrum in Ibadan and Lagos regions of Nigeria. Through this deployment, Smile Communications intends to provide its Nigerian subscribers an improved smartphone experience, through faster web browsing and downloads and better network performance.  

Initially, Smile had launched commercial LTE services in Ibadan in Feb 2013, thereby making Smile Communications the first to launch this technology in West Africa. Following this, Smile launched commercial LTE services in Lagos on Feb 19, 2014.

Ericsson and Smile Communications have signed a three-year network deployment agreement. Per this agreement, both companies intend to deploy over 1,100 LTE sites across Nigeria. According to the terms of this agreement, Ericsson will be responsible for project management, system integration, interoperability testing, network design and implementation.

According to Ericsson’s sub-Saharan Africa division, mobile data traffic is estimated to grow 17 times by 2019 and Nigeria currently holds the highest number of mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to this, in Dec 2013, Ericsson was selected as one of the principal vendors by Japan-based telecom provider KDDI Corporation for deploying the LTE and Evolved Packet Core network solutions.

Ericsson is the world’s largest supplier of LTE technology with approximately 13% market share overall and more than 50% share in the global LTE smartphone traffic. To date, Ericsson has delivered more than 180 LTE radio access networks (RANs) and Evolved Packet Core networks across the globe, of which more than 110 have gone live.

Currently, Ericsson carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other wireless equipment stocks worth mentioning include Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. (UBNT) and Harris Corp. (HRS). Juniper carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Harris and Ubiquiti carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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