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Business News Tue, 12 Aug 2003

Alcatel signs $80 mln network deal with GT

Alcatel announced today that it has signed a US 80 million dollar contract with Ghana Telecom (GT), the biggest telecom operator in Ghana, to upgrade and expand its telecom network across the nation. The contract was won through Alcatel Shanghai Bell, Alcatel's flagship Chinese company and the leading Chinese telecom technology vendor.


Under the contract, Alcatel will provide and install 250,000 switching lines in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, the "gold triangle" area of Ghana. Alcatel will also help to expand mobile network capacity to 630,000 subscribers, with its advanced GSM solution. In addition, GT's transmission network will be optimized with Alcatel's Metro Solution and fiber optical ring in Accra.


Mr. Albert Kan-Dinah, Minister of Communications of Ghana said, "I extend my sincere congratulations to Alcatel as the winning partner of GT, after a vigorous selection process involving six bidders. This signing is a milestone. It is not only a success for Alcatel, but has symbolic importance for the overall economic cooperation between China and Ghana."


When the project is completed, Ghana Telecom will be able to extend telecom services to all secondary schools, towns and villages in the country. Overall, Alcatel's solution will create a ninefold increase in the country's mobile capacity, and a threefold increase in fixed network capacity, contributing to the nation's economic development. The contract is part of a larger, three-year exclusive agreement between Alcatel and Ghana Telecom spanning further fixed and mobile infrastructure expansion.

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This project is all the more important for Ghana because, since the country's independence in 1957, education has always been a top national priority with Ghana's spending on education reaching between 28 percent and 40 percent of its annual budget in the last decade. Also, this countrywide expansion of telecom capacities will help to boost the attractiveness of Ghana for foreign visitors, both as a superb holiday destination for tourists from all over the world and as one of the most solid economies in Western Africa.


The contract exemplifies Alcatel's unique capability to build end-to-end communication solutions that span multiple technology systems. "We need a company with a world-wide presence like Alcatel to help construct all-business networks for us to provide more telecom services to our people," said Oystein Bjorge, CEO of Ghana Telecom.


Yuan Xin, Chairman of Alcatel Shanghai Bell, commented, "We are pleased to be chosen as the sole vendor for this project. We will make this project a showcase, and help pave the way for the economic development of Ghana.

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