Friday Network News: December 23

Capacity brings you the latest network news. If you have network developments you’d like us to share, please email or tweet us @capacitymag.

UAE telco Etisalat has launched LTE services on what it has claimed is the Emirates’ fastest 4G network. The company has deployed nearly 1,000 base stations with a footprint covering nearly 70% of the population on the country. Etisalat claimed that it will eventually cover the entire population of the UAE, and that the network will supply speeds of up to 100Mbps. The service will initially be restricted to USB modems, extending to other devices when they become available. For the article click here.

ZTE has reportedly won a contract worth several hundred million dollars with Telenor Pakistan for the company’s country-wide network swap, beating rival NSN. ZTE is set to replace the company’s entire access and core network infrastructure throughout the country. The deal will make ZTE the sole vendor for Telenor Pakistan to set-up, maintain and run the network, which will eventually embrace 3G.

Reliance Globalcom has set up the Hawk cable system connecting the developing markets of India, the Middle East and Asia with Europe. The high capacity cable has been designed with upgrade potential to a capacity of 16 Tbps, and will connect to a Mediterranean hub on Cyprus. The cable has landed at Yeroskipos in Cyprus through a partnership with local provider PrimeTel and is integrated into the Reliance European network, with connections to the company’s US gateway.

BT has announced two framework contracts with the European Parliament worth up to €120 million combined. The five year contracts cover a wide range of network IT services, including the supply of network equipment and applications as well as associated professional services for the European Parliament’s telecommunications infrastructure systems. The contracts apply to the EU Parliament’s three main sites in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg.

A consortium that includes NTT Communications, KT and Chunghwa Telecom has signed a multi-million dollar supply contract with vendor NEC to build the Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine cable system. The APG cable system will link nine countries and territories in Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. The system's backers say that it has been conceived to meet demand for intra-Asia connectivity, particularly between South East Asia and North Asia, offering transmission speeds of 40 Gbps. For the article click here.

LightSquared has hit back at the GPS industry by asking the US regulator the FCC to confirm its rights as spectrum licensee. The company also asked the FCC to confirm that commercial GPS manufacturers have no right to interference protection from LightSquared’s network. The move is part of an on-going dispute between LightSquared and the GPS industry regarding LightSquared’s planned US LTE network, which has been found to interfere with some GPS devices.

Swisscom has taken a major step in modernising its mobile network to LTE compatibility after signing a five year deal with Ericsson. The Swiss carrier said it expects mobile data demand to double every twelve months over the five year period, and has deployed Ericsson to modernise 6,000 mobile sites for optimisation on all of Swisscom’s networks. The operator has mobile data users all over Switzerland, and the partnership is intended to be greatly beneficial to subscribers residing in the inner cities where traffic is dense. For the article click here.

NTT Communications has announced an expansion of the data–transmission capacity of its global IP network between Japan and the US to 600 Gbps. NTT Com’s IP backbones are connected to fixed and mobile telecom companies, ISPs, data centre operators and content providers. The company claims that the expansion will enable its customers to meet their growing needs for internet capacity between Japan and the US, demand for which increased seven-fold between 2005 to 2010, it said. The network, which is IPv4 and IPv6 dual-stack, is one of NTT Com’s core IPv6 networks.

TeliaSonera has signed an agreement to acquire the remaining 49% stake in operator GSM Kazakhstan, which operates under the Kcell brand, in a transaction worth $1.519 billion. GSM Kazakhstan is 51% owned by Fintur Holdings, a company under 58.55% TeliaSonera control, and 41.45% owned by cellco Turkcell. The terms of a further agreement, subject to certain conditions, dictate that TeliaSonera must sell 25% of the shares minus one share in Kcell in an initial public offering (IPO), expected to be completed during 2012. The transaction is expected to be finalised during the first quarter of 2012, subject to regulatory approval. For the article click here.

US provider Leap Wireless has launched commercial LTE in Tucson, Arizona. The launch marks the first phase of the company’s transition from 3G to 4G LTE, which will take place over the next few years. The service will initially be available on USB modems extending to smartphones and other devices in the future. Leap plans to cover 90% of parent company Cricket Tucson’s market footprint and is planning a further expansion in Nogales, Arizona in 2012.

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