Alcatel-Lucent and Ghanaian operator Surfline Communications launched the country's first commercial 4G LTE network on Tuesday.
The Franco-U.S. equipment provider supplied hardware and software for the network, along with installation, optimisation, maintenance and managed services, helping Surfline roll out next generation mobile communications in response to rapidly increasing data demand driven by the proliferation of lower cost smartphones in Ghana.
Surfline--Ghana's first LTE operator--was established to provide wireless broadband and related services to the Ghanaian market as well as more generally in Western and Central Africa. The high speed network created with Alcatel-Lucent will be used for multiple data-centric services and applications to aid Ghana's overall infrastructure.
The African company, which is wholly owned by chairman John Taylor, has invested more than $100 million (€75.2 million) to complete the first phase of the network, which covers 300 cell sites, Reuters reported.
Surfline's data-only service for pre-paid customers is initially available in the country's capital, Accra, and port of Tema. Taylor told Reuters the network would expand to countrywide within two years.
The company hopes to spur development of a digital based economy in Ghana by offering affordable, countrywide, broadband connectivity, and increasing information and communications technology (ICT) literacy. In Ghana, and elsewhere in Africa, LTE is expected to transform the use of technology with regards to mobile consumers, healthcare, transportation, energy, security, agriculture, sales and payments industries and infrastructure.
Taylor commented: "We chose Alcatel-Lucent to build and operate our LTE network because of the strong trust and relationship we developed, and the experience that Alcatel-Lucent has on LTE as a technology, as well as its strong presence in Africa, including Ghana. Alcatel-Lucent's ultra fast broadband solution, market positioning and 4G LTE leadership were essential for our decision."
Daniel Jaeger, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent in Africa added: "Africa represents a major opportunity for growth in ultra-Broadband, and it is a significant part of our strategy to form strategic partnerships with operators like Surfline, who are committed to making a positive contribution to people's lives."
Ghana is now the sixth African sub-Saharan to gain a 4G network. Surfline is owned by Skybridge Investments, a wholly owned Ghanaian company, and is headquartered in Accra.
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