Swiss-owned YooMee Africa has partnered with Alcatel-Lucent to expand its operations in west and central Africa through the rollout of wireless broadband services based on TDD LTE technology. YooMee, which currently provides mobile WiMAX access in Cameroon, has targeted the deployment of TDD LTE in new unnamed markets within the next six months, with a plan to install around 35-50 sites per capital city before expanding to other cities at a later date. Alcatel-Lucent will deploy a complete end-to-end TDD LTE solution comprising of eNBs, wireless backhaul and the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), and will also provide professional services such as network planning, pre-launch optimisation, network integration, and start-up assistance services to accompany YooMee with its commercial rollout. Dov Bar-Gera, CEO of YooMee Africa, said: ‘YooMee is committed to helping eliminate the digital divide in Africa and providing ultra-broadband accessibility as the means to accomplishing that goal. In addition to our efforts in Cameroon, we plan to deploy TDD LTE in other countries in which YooMee is holding the relevant licences in the coming years.’
While the markets in which YooMee plans to deploy TDD LTE have yet to be formally announced, TeleGeography notes that the company’s chairperson and co-founder Anat Bar-Gera was quoted as saying in July 2013 that the firm holds licences in Cote d’Ivoire and Rwanda, with a service launch in the former expected to take place ‘within a few months’. The privately-owned company’s website says it targets a number of other African countries for future expansion, including: Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania, among others.