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Granger Telecom Ltd, a UK company that has the strategy of providing telecommunications to developing countries, has won a $300m contract to build a wireless telephone network in the Chechen Republic. The contract is to span five years, starting from January 1 1998, and by 2002 Granger estimate that 95% of the Chechen population will have access to one of 300,000 telephone connections that it is installing. The wireless technology used will be the alternative wireless standard to Europe’s GSM, Code Division Multiple Access, which will deliver telephone, internet and ISDN services. Granger claims that the CDMA technology is not the same flavor as that being used in US mobile phone networks, and is instead Synchronous CDMA, more suitable for fixed wireless access. The frequencies used will be in the 2GHz range, and Granger will provide 32Kbps channels, which can be tied together for data use. The customers will use normal telephone handsets, rather than mobile handsets, which it is also providing from OEM sources. Granger claims that the telecoms network will be the most advanced in the Russian CIS. Granger Telecom underwent a management buyout, backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, from its Dallas-based parent the telecoms equipment supplier DSC Communications Corp in 1993, and sold its Californian subsidiary Granger Inc for $8.1m to Digital Microwave Corporation. This cash injection has paid off Granger’s debts, and all the equity is owned by private investors. Weybridge, UK-based Granger, which turns over $40m a year, claims it can install wireless telephone networks for a minimum of half the price of fixed networks. Granger OEM their equipment to the major telecommunications equipment providers, and says it is now in direct competition with its old parent DSC. In 1996, Granger won a $70m contract to supply a telephone system to Southern Ghana.

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CBR Staff Writer

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