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Sierra Leone
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Airtel partners with Ericsson and Huawei Communications

July 14, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

In order to strengthen and provide quality telecommunications service to users in Sierra Leone, one of the leading telecommunication companies in the country and third largest communication provider in the world, Bharti Airtel, yesterday (13 July) concretised a partnership agreement with Ericsson and Huawei Communications and reiterated its commitment to provide better quality network based on international standard.

Speaking at a press conference held at their Freetown headquarters at Hill Station, Managing Director of Bharti Airtel Sierra Leone, Sudipto Chowdhury, said they are closely collaborating with the government to expand their geographical coverage with a wider 3G data network backed with a state-of-the-art data centre and a mobilised switch, complemented by a combined partnership with Ericsson and Huawei.

Mr. Chowdhury revealed that the company is currently looking into the future as plans were underway to effectuate a five-pillar goal comprising geographic expansion that will entail rolling out 28 new 2G sites with the aim of improving coverage in several areas and bringing connectivity to chiefdoms which do not have any coverage at present. He added that the plan includes expansion of their network with 127 new 3G sites to improve Freetown’s 3G coverage and internet experience, and expanding 3G to all district headquarters.

“We are currently strengthening our network partnerships as Huawei will be responsible for our day-to-day operations of the network, using a model with strong local presence to improve response times,” revealed Mr. Chowdhury. “Ericsson will continue to supply and install our new radio and transmission equipment for both 2G and 3G sites.”

He further disclosed that Airtel recently became the third largest mobile operator in the world in terms of subscribers, adding that the mobile giant has over 303 million subscribers across the globe.

Chairman of the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM), Momoh Konte, said they welcome the initiative as one of their key responsibilities is to ensure quality mobile network experience, benchmark with global standard for citizens of Sierra Leone.

He said they had embarked on several deliberations with mobile phone operators in the country and have reviewed their network expansion and improvement plans, adding that they would continue to closely monitor new networks.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Sierra Leone, Eric Loon, said Huawei is a global leader in ICT solutions and that as Airtel is now the third largest telecom company in the world, it is an honour for his company to strategically partner with them.

He said they have built and managed 14 networks among 20 networks of Airtel in different countries to date, and that beginning 16 July they would initiate a managed service project in tandem with experienced technical staff of Airtel Sierra Leone.

Mr. Loon assured Airtel subscribers that they would enjoy better service delivery in the form of reliable and more efficient 2G and 3G services.

Chief Executive Officer of Ericsson Sierra Leone, David Skinnel, said Ericsson is a renowned global telecom infrastructure and network management company that has presence in over 100 countries, adding that partnering with Airtel demonstrates their ability to develop and deploy new technology.

He said they would continue to work on the expansion of Airtel’s network to ensure world class quality.

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