Telecommunications company, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., has signed an exclusive supplier agreement with Emtel Ltd. in Mauritius for the supply, installation and commissioning of Mauritius’ first mobile 3G/WCDMA network.

This will be the first commercially operational 3G network on the African continent, and only the second 3G network in the southern hemisphere. Emtel has over 150 000 GSM users, of which 85 percent are prepaid. Huawei has implemented more than 30 WCDMA networks worldwide, which, it says, address the need for a smooth upgrade to 3G.

The selection of Emtel’s 3G network was done by way of a strict transparent tender process, factoring in each vendor’s technical, commercial and services/support offering. Huawei was selected as the exclusive supplier for the network roll-out. The first phase of a three-phase roll-out is now almost complete.

The first phase provides an end-to-end solution, with coverage of all major geographical areas throughout Mauritius. It comprises the core 3G network, Utran 3G radio access network, and the supply of 3G handsets.

As part of the end-to-end solution, the first phase is now in system testing, prior to commercial service ‘switch on’, scheduled for the November 1st. The official contract signing ceremony between Emtel and Huawei was held in Port Louis, Mauritius on October 16th. Mauritius has a population of 1.2 million and an average GDP of US$3,200 per capita. Emtel has a current subscriber base of 154,000.