MTC-Vodafone plans 3G in Kuwait

MTC-Vodafone is making preparations to launch 2.75G and 3G infrastructure in Kuwait.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  June 20, 2004

MTC-Vodafone is making preparations to launch 2.75G and 3G infrastructure in Kuwait, according to Dr. Saad Al Barrak, MTC Group director general. The mobile operator will shortly start discussions with Kuwait's Government in a bid to gain access to frequency spectrum that would allow it to deploy 3G services. "We are going to talk to the Ministry of Communications soon [about] the assignment of 3G frequency," Dr. Al Barrak tells CommsMEA. "We don't need a 3G license in Kuwait — our current mandate is for full mobile services so it is a matter of frequency assignment," he adds. MTC-Vodafone has also begun to roll out Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology to add higher speeds to its existing 2G network in Kuwait. "By the end of the year, the total Kuwaiti network will be on EDGE," says Dr. Al Barrak. The operator's commitment to both EDGE and 3G stands in contrast to the strategy of its Kuwaiti rival, Wataniya Telecom. Wataniya has already deployed EDGE in areas of high demand for mobile data services in Kuwait. But it says it is awaiting for evidence of market need for 3G before making the investment in UMTS infrastructure. "There are already some parts of the network that are EDGE capable," says Ahmad Haleem, chief executive officer of Wataniya Telecom International. "We don't see why you need 3G in Kuwait today. What can you do with 3G that you can't do with EDGE?" he adds. Nevertheless, the move signals MTC-Vodafone's intention to start expanding the reach of its 3G services. The mobile operator launched a trial 3G network in a few sites when its Bahraini division began operating at the end of last year, but told CommsMEA last month that it is preparing to expand the network’s coverage nationwide. It also says it will offer the service in its other territories when demand and licensing arrangements allow.

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