Etisalat to deploy region’s first LTE network
MWC 2011: UAE telco to deploy commercial LTE network in Q1 2011
UAE telco Etisalat said it plans to deploy the Middle East's first LTE network within the next two months.
Etisalat, which is working with telecom vendor Alcatel-Lucent, said the decision to move ahead with the LTE network was in response to surging demand for mobile broadband in the country.
Etisalat spokesman Marwan Zawaydeh said that the company had experienced a 200% growth in data roaming traffic during the past year.
"Due to the smartphone boom in the UAE [...] our customers continue to crave for higher speeds and better connectivity," he said.
"There is an exploding demand for new technologies and large bandwidth to support and enable the surging data traffic."
Mohammad Omran, chairman, Etisalat, described the development as "a significant milestone" for the telco. "We are proud to be the Middle East's first and widest LTE network," he said.
Alcatel-Lucent will provide Etisalat with all of the infrastructure and expertise required for the LTE network, including LTE base stations, all-IP wireless Evolved Packet Core, a converged end-to-end network management solution and professional services including project management, planning, installation, commissioning and integration.
LTE can accommodate multimedia applications such as video conferencing, high definition content transmission and high speed video downloads of up to 100Mbps.
Gulf operators including STC, Batelco and Mobily each conducted LTE trials in 2010, but Etisalat is the first to confirm a time frame for a commercial launch.