Vodafone unveils partnership for Nigeria and Benin

Vodafone and Globacom entered into a new partner market agreement for Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.

Under the non-equity partnership arrangement, the operators will jointly offer a range of products and services to business and consumer customers in the two markets.

Vodafone Partner Markets CEO Stefano Gastaut noted that the operator now has partner market agreements covering 57 countries in six continents.

"This strategic partnership with Globacom for Nigeria and the Republic of Benin will help deliver enhanced roaming benefits for Globacom's consumer and multinational corporate customers, including countries where we have an ultra-fast 4G network. Vodafone will gain from Globacom's expertise and deep understanding of African markets," Gastaut said.

Vodafone uses non-equity partner market arrangements to target markets where it does not have a presence, and has been particularly active recently in setting up such arrangements in Africa.

For example, in November 2014 the UK-based group signed a framework agreement with Afrimax Group to explore further opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has so far launched LTE (or 4G) services in limited areas of Uganda under this arrangement.

However, the Afrimax agreement is not comprehensive, and Vodafone has continued to sign separate deals with other national operators. In March, for instance, Vodafone and Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTCL) signed a partner market agreement because Afrimax apparently did not hold a 4G licence for Botswana when it signed the framework agreement with Vodafone.

Netherland-based Afrimax reportedly holds TD-LTE spectrum licences for 14 countries and is said to be exploring the acquisition of licences in an additional seven countries.

Nigeria-based Globacom, meanwhile, provides telecoms services in Nigeria, the Republic of Benin and Ghana under the Glo brand. According to local media reports, the company acquired 700 MHz spectrum earlier in 2015, but in May TeleGeography reported that the process through which the spectrum was awarded was under investigation.

The GSMA has previously forecast that the number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020 as mobile services become increasingly affordable and accessible to millions of currently unconnected citizens across the region.

For more:
- see the Vodafone release
- see this Daily Times article
- see this TeleGeography article

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