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MTN to expand in Sudan via $125m network-as-a-service deal

Francis Létourneau NuRAN.jpg

African operator MTN is to expand its rural network in Sudan via a US$125 million network-as-a-service (NaaS) contract with Canadian infrastructure company NuRAN.

The Canadian company will build 500 sites for MTN Sudan and earn revenue over the 10-year period of the deal, providing 2G and 3G services.

NuRAN Wireless CEO Francis Létourneau (pictured) said: “This is another important milestone for NuRAN as we press ahead to our stated goal of having 10,000 sites under contract. This contract also further solidifies our growing relationship with MTN as a key partner in bringing mobile connectivity to the people that need it the most.”

NuRAN pointed out that the estimated revenues are subject to associated project costs including satellite bandwidth, site lease, network operations centre, maintenance fees, project management and monitoring, and insurance.

The supplier, based in Québec, will share revenue with MTN, and “expects to retain the ownership of the infrastructure after completion of the contract which increases the value of the agreement”.

Létourneau said: “Mobile connectivity is a life blood to these communities and NuRAN is extremely proud to be at the centre of bridging this important gap.”

NuRAN already has NaaS contracts with MTN in neighbouring South Sudan and in Namibia.

Last year Orange signed a 10-year, $395 million NaaS deal with NuRAN for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), covering 2,000 solar-powered towers for so-called 2.75G mobile services, upgradeable to 3G, 3.5G or 4G.

NuRAN said it now has 3,192 sites in five African countries under contract, in pursuit of its overall objective of 10,000 sites under contract. It said deployments under the NaaS model require it “to make upfront investments, [but] they generate significant value whereby NuRAN benefits from long-term recurring revenues with compelling returns”.

It said it “intends to fund such deployments mostly through asset-based project financing or similar debt-oriented facilities”.

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