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GatesAir amplifies Middle East and Africa team with appointment of Graham Lay

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The Dubai-based sales and account management professional will leverage customer relationships, industry knowledge to drive new business and strengthen brand visibility across the region.

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for TV and radio, continues to strengthen its global presence with the appointment of Graham Lay as Regional Sales Manager, MEA (Middle East and Africa), effective immediately. Based in Dubai, Lay reports to Andy McClelland, Managing Director, EMEA, with a focus on building GatesAir’s market share and brand visibility in the Middle East and eastern Africa.

Lay comes to GatesAir with more than a decade of sales and account management experience in the broadcast and communications industry. He spent most of this time with electrical cable distribution company IEWC, where he consistently took on roles of increasing responsibility. Lay was instrumental in the launch and growth of IEWC’s broadcast and communications business in Europe. He relocated to Dubai in 2015, taking on the role of Business Unit Leader (MEA) for Argosy Cable, part of the IEWC group of companies.

Lay’s years of in-region experience with IEWC and Argosy well-position him for success with GatesAir. He has established strong business contacts with broadcasters and systems integrators throughout the region, possessing a customer-friendly mix of relationship skills and technical knowledge. Lay is already building a foundation for new business, and is especially bullish on digital transition opportunities. He notes that GatesAir is an established brand in his region, with a ripe-for-growth transmission presence in most countries.

“GatesAir has built a reputation for expertly managing high-volume business opportunities and many of the world’s largest digital transition projects,” said Lay. “Their recent establishment of a new business and manufacturing centre in Europe, and aggressive sales and business development expansion, has magnified GatesAir’s presence throughout the EMEA region. I look forward to working with the greater EMEA team to strengthen our brand in the Middle East and eastern Africa. We see enormous opportunity to help broadcasters refresh FM radio infrastructure, and to drive large, national digital TV and DAB radio transitions that generate new revenue and service opportunities for our customers.”

Lay expects to fortify GatesAir’s regional service and support presence through expansion of its channel partner network, in addition to working directly with customers to solve problems, reduce operational costs and create new opportunities. This includes helping broadcasters transition from legacy TDM networks to intelligent IP transport architectures, leveraging GatesAir’s quickly-growing Intraplex product line.

“Graham has invested a substantial amount of time and effort in building his customer base, and his knowledge of regional trends and cultures makes him a perfect fit in this new role,” said Rich Redmond, President and Managing Director (International) for GatesAir. “In the bigger picture, Graham’s appointment represents GatesAir’s continued commitment to strengthening our local and regional teams in every international region, and positioning the company for long-term global success. We’re proud to welcome Graham to the GatesAir family.”

GatesAir and Pinnacle Communications accelerate Nigerian digital switchover initiative

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for radio and TV broadcasters, and channel partner Pinnacle Communications Limited have completed the plan for phase two of a multi-stage digital TV (DTV) transition in Nigeria. Having covered 100 percent of the Abuja municipality, the second phase will extend coverage to 95 percent of the population in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria.

The DVB-T2 system today delivers 30 national and up to six local channels of high-quality news, information and entertainment to FCT residents – as many as 200 free over-the-air channels are anticipated – with GatesAir high-efficiency ULXTE liquid-cooled transmitters powering all over-the-air DTV content delivery. Comprehensive national coverage will eventually reach more than 50 million viewing homes and approximately 170 million people in 36 Nigerian states and the FCT, with a complete national digital switchover targeted for December 2021.

As the licensed signal distributor for Nigeria, Pinnacle Communications is working diligently to plan future expansions of the service. This includes the rollout of low-power transmitters and gap fillers to fill out the terrestrial black spots in the FCT region and Kaduna state before moving onto other states. Pinnacle Communications will leverage GatesAir’s expanded range of lower power systems, which GatesAir took ownership of following its recent acquisition of ONEtastic.

“We have invested exclusively in GatesAir TV, AM and FM transmitters since 1998 because of their high quality and unmatched resilience, and will continue to do so because their range of high-efficiency transmission solutions will address low-power requirements,” said Sir Lucky Omoluwa, Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Communications. “GatesAir also continues to impress with accelerated deliveries for our most important projects. We have deployed GatesAir transmitters for several locations with emergency turnarounds, and those plug-and-play installations remain reliably operational today.”

GatesAir remains the leading supplier for DTV transitions in Africa. In addition to Nigeria, GatesAir has supported challenging DTV transitions in Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. The scale of the Nigerian digital switchover is perhaps the most impressive, as an overwhelming majority of the expansive Nigerian population relies exclusively on free, over-the-air TV. It is estimated that about five percent of households in Nigeria receive television from PayTV services.

“The Nigerian digital switchover will be the largest initiative of its kind in Africa, not to mention Europe, when it reaches its conclusion,” said Bruce Swail, CEO, GatesAir. “Upon completion, the immense scale of this system will serve as an impressive blueprint for any broadcaster strategizing a complex, national DTV transition. We are proud to be associated with a such a challenging and rewarding project taking shape in the heart of Africa, with the entirety of the system built and developed by Nigerians.”

GatesAir welcomed Pinnacle’s executive team to its Quincy, Illinois manufacturing center in late August. The visit included a facility tour and overview of GatesAir’s next-generation transmitter designs, which will at once improve coverage, enhance signal quality, and reduce operating costs – notably, energy bills and systems maintenance – over the lifetime of the system. Pinnacle Communications Limited Executive Director, Dipo Onifade; Lead Broadcast Technical Consultant, Yomi Bolarinwa; and Senior Advisor for Military Communications, General (RTD) Chris Jemitola were among those joining Sir Lucky Omoluwa for the visit. Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore and top executives from the Quincy Chamber of Commerce were on hand to receive the delegation.

GatesAir wins national Ivory Coast digital TV transition contract

GatesAir, a global leader in wireless, over-the-air content delivery solutions for TV and radio broadcasters, continues its long-standing business relationship with the Republic of Ivory Coast through a turnkey equipment and services contract to support the African country’s national digital TV (DTV) network. The first phase consists of seven transmitter sites to cover the city of Abidjan and the next six largest cities, with the Abidjan site providing DTV services to 30 percent of the country. The subsequent six sites will expand DTV services to approximately 80 percent of the country, with 100 percent coverage expected by 2020.

The turnkey equipment package for phase one includes 21 GatesAir Maxiva UAXTE air-cooled, high-efficiency UHF transmitters in redundant configurations to ensure a continuous on-air presence. Each of the seven sites includes three transmitters along with DVB-T2 headend equipment, antennas and towers, and can support three programming multiplexes (one government, and two private). The government multiplex, featuring seven channels of programming, is now on the air, with the private multiplexes to follow. Each multiplex will deliver multiple channels of DTV programming and rich data services, including electronic program guides.

The Ivory Coast DVB-T2 network is GatesAir’s ninth DTV transition project in Africa, strengthening its position as the market-leading over-the-air vendor on the continent. GatesAir has recently supported transitions in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. GatesAir’s success in managing these transitions, including adherence to challenging delivery timelines, was essential to securing the contract. GatesAir’s strong customer service reputation, high-efficiency transmission technology, and global leadership in complex, national DTV transitions also played substantial roles in the decision.

“The digital transition is very important for the Ivorian population as it opens the television space more than ever before,” said Bruno N’Doua, director of Studies and Development, Société Ivoirienne de Télédiffusion (IDT). “These populations will now have the option to watch seven channels to start, whereas before there were only two channels available. This will change the viewing habits of Ivorians, and is a major step forward in the liberalization of the audiovisual space. This is not the first time the Ivory Coast has worked with GatesAir. They were formerly known as Harris, and their transmitters have helped us provide high-quality distribution of TV programs for at least 15 years. Therefore, we already knew the robustness of GatesAir equipment, and it is an immense pleasure to work with GatesAir again.”

The selection of GatesAir’s Maxiva UAXTE transmitters will provide several performance benefits and long-term cost savings for IDT. The UAXTE’s high-efficiency design (based on GatesAir’s PowerSmart Plus architecture) will reduce utility bills network-wide – a substantial operational benefit given Ivory Coast’s high electricity costs. Maintenance is simplified through the transmitter’s modular design, which allows IDT’s engineering team to use common, spare parts across the entire network. Dual power supplies, hot-swappable PA modules and other PowerSmart Plus design attributes further strengthen on-air reliability.

GatesAir partnered with African Union Communications for headend systems, and with regional partner STA, based in the Ivory Coast, for towers, antennas and transmission shelters. GatesAir will also work closely with STA across all installation, commissioning and ongoing maintenance services, as well as training, service and support initiatives.

“GatesAir will bring nearly 100 years of global over-the-air broadcast expertise to support Ivory Coast’s national DTV transition, and deliver exceptional picture quality with reliable service to the population,” said Bruce D. Swail, CEO, GatesAir. “We will also ensure the lowest total cost of ownership to IDT through reduced energy consumption, streamlined maintenance, and local service and support. We thank IDT and the Republic of Ivory Coast for trusting in GatesAir, and look forward to supporting future DTV transitions throughout Africa.”

 

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