Ericsson is supplying 1500km of fiber-optic underwater cable to operator Angola Telecom, providing a backbone network for mobile traffic as well as broadband services covering the majority of Angola's population.
The USD 70 million deal involves the installation of a tailor-made, steel-wire-armored fiber-optic cable along Angola's entire coastline. It will complement the current satellite backbone network and make reliable telecommunications services available to about 70 percent of Angolans, most of whom live in cities, such as the capital Luanda, that are close to the sea.
Bengt Rosengren, head of Ericsson in Angola, says: "Angola Telecom, a fixed-line operator, will act as the carriers' carrier, hauling traffic and offering high-capacity fiber along the coast. Other operators, private companies and internet service providers will sell a range of services to the man on the street."
This is a great opportunity for mobile operators to buy high-capacity bandwidth - essential now as they implement their 3G solutions.
The reliability of the new network is equally valuable to such operators. Rosengren says: "This is a country where the electricity supply is erratic at best. But we will have eight discreet points in the cable where diesel generators supply back-up power when necessary."
Italian subcontractor Elettra will lay the cable, digging a 1.5m-deep trench into the seabed using a special ship-drawn plough.
Under the contract, Ericsson will also supply optical transmission equipment, namely the Marconi MHL 3000, a multi-reach dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) product. This equipment will light fiber in the long-distance underwater cable with multiple 10Gbps wavelengths. It will be linked to Angola Telecom's terrestrial fiber network with multiple STM-16 SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) interfaces, forming an integral part of the company's transmission backbone.
The deal is of significant importance to Ericsson. Janne Sjödén, president of Ericsson Network Technologies, says: "It shows we have a turnkey capability in terms of supplying cables and transmission equipment, and can take responsibility for everything from specialist surveys and network design to advanced installation techniques."
The cable arrived by ship in Luanda on November 25, having left the factory in Hudiksvall, Sweden, in October. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2008.
Sjöden says the deal should pave the way for further business in Angola. "We have been engaged in talks with multinationals operating oil platforms in Angolan waters, and they have shown an interest in our product."
While microwave equipment is today most often used to connect oil platforms with the shore, fiber-optic cables make for safer, better-quality communications. Ericsson already supplies such cables to Statoil's rigs in the North Sea.