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US Ex-Im Bank has approved a US$18.3mn loan guarantee that will enable Nortel Networks and Research Triangle to export and install a mobile telephone network in southeastern Nigeria. The buyer is Bourdex Telecommunications, a private operator licensed to provide fixed and mobile wireless telecommunications services in 10 southeastern Nigerian states. 
US suppliers participating in the export sale include: Solectron Systems; Microwave Networks; Andrew Corp; UT Starcom;  Glenayre;  Eltek Energy;  and Sun Microsystems.
Bourdex has a current capacity of 45,000 customers and, in response to demand, is expanding and upgrading its wireless analogue network to a digital CDMA (code division multiple access) system offering such services as push-to-talk, high-speed internet access, and multi-media messaging. The network will have a capacity of 80,000 subscribers when completed in 2005, and 200,000 subscribers in five years. Nortel’s contract is for phase one of the network upgrade.  Further expansion during phase two is scheduled to be completed a year later.
Nortel won the contract in the face of competition from Asian and Middle Eastern companies. The guaranteed lender on the transaction is HSBC Bank, London. A consortium of two African banks, Ecobank Nigeria in Lagos, Nigeria and Ecobank Transnational in Lome, Togo, are guarantors on the transaction.