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LTE race gets underway in KSA

Mobily completes LTE trials with Huawei while STC selects second vendor for LTE tests.

LTE race gets underway in KSA
Saudi Arabia's three mobile operators are all working toward the deployment of LTE.

Saudi Arabian operators Mobily and STC have increased the stakes in the country's race towards LTE deployment, with Mobily completing LTE tests while incumbent operator STC said it had selected vendor Alcatel-Lucent for "end-to-end" LTE trials.

Mobily, a division of the UAE's Etisalat, said yesterday that it had "successfully concluded" LTE trials, which included lab and field tests, with Huawei. The operator is also conducting similar tests with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Abdulaziz Altamami, Mobily's chief operating officer said the tests with Huawei included LTE base stations, evolved packet cores, and all aspects of operation and management.

Following Mobily's announcement, STC said it had selected Alcatel-Lucent to conduct an end-to-end LTE trial "to begin in the second half of 2010". The news came just a month after STC announced it had partnered with Ericsson for the deployment of an LTE network, indicating that the operator may be planning to work with the vendors to deploy networks in different parts of the country.

"It is clear to us that LTE has evolved to being more than just a promising technology," said Dr. Zeyad Al-Otaibi, STC's vice president for networks. [...] We are confident that this trial will help us fulfill our customers' needs for innovative mobile broadband services."

Saudi Arabia's third operator, Zain KSA, said last month that it would deploy the country's first LTE network, after signing deals with Motorola and Ericsson.

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