Friday Network News: February 17

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

Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) is planning to roll out 4G LTE in the country according to local sources. Omantel’s CEO Dr Amer Al Rawas reportedly said that the tender had been floated to select an LTE network supplier but did not give a timeframe for a rollout of the technology. The service would initially support mobile data, with voice services supported later on.

Network and data centre operator, GTS CE, has extended its fibre-optic network to Croatia, following other expansions in Serbia and Slovenia. The move sees GTS extend its network by 180km connecting the Hungarian capital, Budapest, through the towns of Zalaegerszeg and Nagykanizsa, crossing the Croatian border at Letenye and extending to the north Croatian city of Varasdin. This brings the total length of GTS’ Hungarian network to 2,300km.

Jersey Telecom, the incumbent operator of the Jersey channel island, has connected 24 premises to its trial FTTP broadband networks. The connections are part of an ongoing pilot scheme which is focused on the La Rocque, Fauvic and La Moye areas of the island. Approximately 500 households are expected to be connected within the next few weeks after Jersey Telecom received 350 applications within 48 hours of opening the trial. Jersey Telecom expects the network to be extended to every home and business on the island by 2016.

Vendor TE Connectivity says that its distributed antenna system (DAS) has been deployed on the metro subway system of the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The system will provide mobile services for operators throughout a section covering two nine-kilometer parallel tracks, as well as eight underground stations in the centre of Copenhagen. The TE Connectivity solution has replaced an incumbent DAS that is claimed to have been experiencing performance and reliability problems.

UK operator, Everything Everywhere, the joint venture between T-Mobile UK and Orange UK, and Hutchison 3G are planning to carry out a £25 million expansion project in Northern Ireland. The upgrade will be carried out via a network sharing venture, named Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL). MBNL will enhance the 3G coverage in the region to reach 94% of the Northern Irish population by the end of 2012, a significant boost from the 54% covered at the moment.

UK telecoms company BT is looking to double its business across Turkey, the Middle East and Africa through an investment in infrastructure, networks and services. For its African expansion plans, BT is improving its network reach and access through an international routing facility and a network connection between the South African cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg. In the Middle East, BT is launching three network nodes, expanding from its base in the UAE and its expansion in Turkey will be through additional network interconnections.

Bell Canada and Telus have reportedly entered into an agreement to launch a joint LTE network in the Canadian cities of Montreal and Quebec. Local sources say that the two telcos will also provide coverage in 14 of Canada’s major urban centres, including Halifax, Guelph, Edmonton, Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, Yellowknife, Waterloo, Calgary, Belleville, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver and Kitchener. The launches are to accommodate increasing data usage in Canadian cities.

Digicel Jamaica has confirmed its plans to close the Claro network, which it acquired from América Móvil in December 2011, despite previous commitments to maintain two separate networks. The Claro network will be closed from March 1 2012, and parts of the Claro network and its spectrum will be integrated into the Digicel network. As the dominant service provider, Digicel had to agree to a reduction in the interconnection rate, in order to prevent them becoming even more dominant in the market.

Peoples Telephone Cooperative, a NetAmerica alliance member, has begun offering 4G LTE data services in rural Texas. The LTE launch comes as a result of an agreement with NetAmerica and will replace Peoples Telephone’s WiMAX service on the 700MHz band. Peoples Telephone is using NetAmerica’s UniPort Home Gateway router, which offers Ethernet and Wi-Fi through a mobile broadband connection to the LTE network. After the initial change of service, 200 residential users were moved from WiMAX to LTE in eastern Texas.

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