Pan-African 4G operator Smile Communications has launched a commercial 4G LTE broadband access network in Lagos, using equipment supplied by Swedish vendor Ericsson. Smile first rolled out LTE services (using 800MHz spectrum) in Ibadan in February 2013, after launching East Africa’s first 4G LTE network in Tanzania in March 2012. The group, which was founded in 2007, is also operational in Uganda, where it introduced LTE for consumers in Kampala in June 2013, and plans to launch in the DRC later in 2014. Ericsson is the primary vendor for the Nigerian LTE radio network, leveraging the multi-standard RBS 6000 family of base stations and the compact and fully integrated AIR Antennas. It is also providing a complete Evolved Packet Core network including Evolved Packet Gateway and Mobility Management Entity. Smile and Ericsson have a three-year network deployment agreement to develop over 1,100 LTE sites across the country; under the terms of the deal, Ericsson is responsible for the project management, system integration, interoperability testing, network design and implementation.
‘At Smile Communications, we seek to deliver affordable, high-quality and easy-to-use broadband internet access and communications services to our customers and in Nigeria, Ericsson is helping us do this,’ commented Tom Allen, Smile Group chief operating officer, adding: ‘With successful commercial operations since 2013, we are very excited to formally announce today the commencement of our services and the beginning of a cross-country rollout. We are starting in Lagos and will lay our footprints in other major cities across the country shortly.’