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Etisalat plans TETRA launch

Etisalat is attempting to drum up interest at Gitex for the upcoming launch of its public access mobile radio (PAMR) network.

Etisalat is attempting to drum up interest at Gitex for the upcoming launch of its public access mobile radio (PAMR) network. The monopoly operator is targeting the UAE’s oil, government, transportation and other vertical sectors with the service, which is based on the digital standard, Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA). TETRA typically provides corporate users with applications such as positioning, group calling, mobile voice calls and data services.

Etisalat recruited Greek vendor, OTE, to provide the equipment for the network, which includes an SCN TX hybrid IP & circuit switch, carrier base stations, a network management system, WAN based dispatcher workstations, spare parts, training and support. Etisalat says the network will be ready for launch by the end of 2004.

“We are in the planning stage and we hope that by the end of this year, we will be able to launch the TETRA service to corporate customers,” says Mohammed Al Fahim, Etisalat's executive vice president of marketing. “We will allow the market to dictate where we roll TETRA out. It will not be provided nationwide, it will be [rolled out] only where customers require it,” he adds.

The TETRA service is being promoted on Etisalat’s stand alongside a raft of other applications the operator says it is planning to add to its mobile network over the next few months. Etisalat is preparing to launch push to talk over cellular (PoC), for example, which allows walkie-talkie type conversations to take place between mobile phone users. “PoC will be for lower segments of the market who do not really require TETRA but would like the push to talk service,” says Al Fahim.

Also on show, meanwhile, are location-based services, which allow subscribers to locate a utility or venue of interest close to them. Another key application of the service, Etisalat says, would be finding the location of children who have been given mobile phones.

Etisalat has also announced a partnership with Abu Dhabi TV at the show, which will allow it to stream real time television content to 3G mobile phones, and says it will soon introduce a service that lets 3G subscribers monitor activities on their mobile phones. Through it, mobile phones could receive pictures from a security camera or a close circuit camera and would be especially useful for parents monitoring their children’s safety at home, the operator says.

Etisalat launched 3G in December 2003 and says it has signed up around 5,500 users.

Stand: E7-1

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