Zain to outsource mobile network operations in East Africa

Published November 29th, 2009 - 12:27 GMT

Zain is streamlining its mobile network operations to improve the quality of service and increase efficiency. As part of this process, Nokia Siemens Networks has been awarded a strategic five-year contract to optimize, modernize 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 Nokia Siemens Networks’ biggest multi-vendor outsourcing case in the region and it’s one of the first supplier swap Managed Services deals of its kind in Africa.


Nokia Siemens Networks will also implement its Energy Solutions 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. It’s 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 Nokia Siemens Networks. They will transfer with employment terms which are as favorable as their existing terms and will undergo further development and training in the latest wireless technologies.


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 Nokia Siemens Networks 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’.”


The agreement will further strengthen Zain’s competitiveness as Nokia Siemens Networks will take over complete responsibility for network operations, allowing Zain to focus on activities core to its business. Nokia Siemens Networks will leverage its strong global service delivery capabilities through its Global Network Solutions Center (GNSC) for faster time to market, faster, higher network and service quality and improved efficiency.


“This deal is unique as it’s the first mobile network outsourcing contract in East Africa and with this we are able to capture strategic market share in the Managed Services arena that further strengthens our leadership position in this business,” said Joerg Erlemeier, head of the Middle East African region, Nokia Siemens Networks. “We will also modernize the network with our state-of-the art equipment for a sustainable and robust network that has the required capacity to capture the expected high customer growth within the next five years.”


As part of the contract Nokia Siemens Networks will also provide optimization services and deploy its latest mobile softswitching 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. Nokia Siemens Networks will also 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 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 5 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 optimized point solutions to provide connectivity in off-grid / bad-grid areas while modernizing the installed base for energy efficiency.


Notably one year after launching in Africa, Zain has been voted the top telecom brand and a top 15 brand in East Africa by Superbrands. The recognition not only reflects the power of the Zain brand in general, but also the success of Zain products and services in the East African markets in particular. Both the ground breaking borderless ‘One Network’ service and the ‘Zap’ mobile banking offering were launched there before being rolled out across the rest of Zain’s operations in Africa and the Middle East. Performance in the region has also been reflected in the 20% average growth in number of Zain customers in these three East African mobile operations over the past 12 months to September 30, 2009.

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