Huawei has had a heavy hand in the build-out of telecommunications infrastructure and network expansion in Africa. The Chinese telco is the largest in the world, and has made sure to be one of the first in the effort to bring more of Africa onto the internet and broadband connectivity. It has invested heavily in Zimbabwe’s telecom infrastructure, recently pouring in $10 million to ensure that its communications tech products are some of the most widely used as the country builds out its web usage. It also partnered with Ethio Telecom — Ethiopia’s state-run mobile operating company — to expand the country’s 4G services. The company has also begun to bring its IPTV products to African carriers. And most recently, Huawei has now officially added Zambia to its list of African regions in which it appears determined to dominate the telecom landscape.
VISUAL CONTEXT: AFRICA WEB CONNECTIONS IN 2012
The company has launched the first of 169 base stations in Zambia that are part of an overarching plan to connect more of the country’s rural areas to the installed mobile telephone network. Reports note that the first tower was set up on April 17, and with many more to come aimed at expanding coverage in all ten of Zambia’s provinces. The project is part of the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority’s (ZICTA) effort to bring more connectivity to rural regions, and the networks will be powered by a variety of telecom companies — both native to Zambia like Zamtel, and foreign including India-based Airtel.
Huawei Zambia MD Spawn Fan Wen is quoted regarding the base station work by AllAfrica:
Through our dedicated effort and commitment to the Zambian market, we endeavor to work with local partners towards improved network quality, affordable rates and more value-added services for the benefit of the people of Zambia. Job creation is a key part of this strategy, and that employment will come in a number of ways. Firstly, Huawei will be employing more people to help in construction of the towers. Secondly, the economic and social benefit generated by the connection of these remote areas will generate business opportunities, stimulate trade and open up whole new markets for labour and produce.
But Huawei’s participation in Zambia’s tech scene is not just relegated to base station work. In March, the company was appointed the provider of Zambia’s first Global System for Mobile Communication – Railway (GSM-R) communication infrastructure for the Chingola-Livingstone railway line. It looks as though the Chinese telco is seeking domination across more than one communication landscape — and succeeding so far.