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Du plans commercial LTE launch this year

Operator completes first pilot supporting broadband speeds up to 150 Mbps.

Du plans commercial LTE launch this year
Bamatraf says that Du is in the process of selecting the right partners to enable its customers to be among the first users of LTE in the world.

The UAE's second operator, Du, has successfully completed its LTE first pilot supporting mobile broadband speeds of up to 150 Mbps. The commercial launch of LTE services is slated for the second half of 2011.

Recently, Du upgraded its network to DC-HSPA+ technology and launched 42 Mpbs mobile broadband services to its customers in the country.

Hatem Bamatraf, senior vice president for network development at Du, said: "We are in the process of selecting and cooperating with the right partners, to enable our customers to be among the first users of LTE in the world."

In April this year, Du announced plans to spend about AED1.7 billion ($463 million) on infrastructure development this year.

In another report, Du's CEO Osman Sultan said that the telco aims to cover more than 50% of the mobile market share in the next 2-3 years. The operator had an estimated 40% share of the mobile market in the country as of April 2011.

The UAE's incumbent operator, Etisalat, is also planning to deploy an LTE network in the country by the end of 2011, and its CTO, Marwan Zawaydeh warned that Etisalat's LTE service will be limited by a lack of spectrum. The company plans to launch LTE services on 2.6 gigahertz spectrum, and Zawaydeh said that though this spectrum has the advantage of widespread support from vendors, it would prove expensive and would fail to meet coverage requirements.

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