New cell sites go live in Cote d’Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire’s first independent tower company “SWAP Technologies and Telecomms Limited” (SWAP) has gone live with its built-to-suit telecoms co-location cell sites, the first cell sites built for co-location went on air in Cote d’Ivoire in August 2010. SWAP commenced telecoms services operations in Abidjan in 2009 with the objectives of providing infrastructural support services to the industry in Cote d’Ivoire by construction of BTS and managed services to support mobile operators in a market set to double subscribers in the next three years.

Reforms in the Ivorian telecommunications sector have seen the country’s telecom industry transforming into one of the most liberal in Africa. Although high import tariffs on telecoms equipment and taxes by various authorities constitute a major burden on investors and operators. The country presently has five operational mobile networks with an additional player licensed to join soon.
The Ivorian mobile market is expected to break the 50% penetration barrier by 2011, but subscriber growth is expected to slow to 20% at the same time and the average revenue per user (ARPU) continues to fall.
According to Dammy Olarinde, Country Director & Head International Operations of SWAP CI:
“This is a very exciting time for the mobile industry in Cote d’Ivoire, which is set for rapid growth. We are open for business now and ready with our extensive expertise and local experience to partner further with mobile operators.
We’ll manage their towers and help them rapidly roll out new sites so that they can focus on their customers whilst reaping the compelling economic benefits of tower sharing without having to make any additional capital expenditure.”
SWAP is an African-focused tower company that owns, builds, manages and maintains telecom towers for mobile operators.
Mr. Dammy added further that “With a population of 21 million and a vibrant mobile market, with 9 million subscribers and five competing mobile operators, Cote d’Ivoire is one of the most attractive markets in francophone West Africa for a tower sharing business. We are delighted to have established the country’s first independent tower company.
“Mobile operators across Africa are seeking to reduce the cost of network roll-out. Tower sharing can help them to reduce their asset base, CAPEX and operating costs, allowing them to focus on increasing their coverage and the roll-out of new services to customers.
In SWAP we also focus on build-to-suit by either picking the appropriate location or finding the right location to meet an operators needs. SWAP will build the tower to host the operator’s communications equipment in the shortest possible time. Our goal is to facilitate getting the operators’ sites on air as quickly as possible while minimizing the capital expenditure related to sites, maintain network design integrity and expedite time-to-market.”