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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Ericsson positive on Africa potential
African mobile advert
Mobile use has boomed in Africa
Swedish mobile giant Ericsson said Africa offered enormous potential for telecoms firms, as it opened its new regional headquarters in Johannesburg.

Ericsson's Southern Africa general manager, Jan Embro, singled out Nigeria as the most exciting opportunity in the region, but said many other countries - including the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa - also offered good potential.

The company opened its new building in the city to act as a hub for its operations in 34 African countries.

"Across the continent, sophisticated cellular services are capturing significant market share against a backdrop of unwieldy and unreliable fixed-line networks," said Mr Embro.

New deals

"We see voice rather than internet access as the killer application on the... continent."

Ericsson already supplies equipment to Nigeria's three mobile operators and its fixed network.

It recently won a 250m rand ($23 million, 16m) deal to roll out a network for Transtel, which will take part in the planned new fixed-line phone operator to rival South African utility Telkom.

On Friday it said it had also won $7.6m contract from Lesotho mobile operator Tele-Com.

Since 1998, African mobile user numbers have increased from two million to about 30 million.

That figure is expected to rise to 100 million by 2005, with the continent's 22 million fixed-line users set to grow to 30 million by 2005.

See also:

01 Apr 02 | Business
Nigeria goes mad for mobiles
12 Apr 02 | Business
Row over South African telecoms firm
05 Sep 01 | Business
Africa set for mobile boom?
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