Field trials under way for 3G technology

20 December 2002

Alcatel of France, Sweden's Ericsson and China's Huawei Technologies Company are carrying out field trials for third-generation (3G) cellular technology over designated areas in the UAE. The trials, due to end in early 2003, come nine months after Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) announced plans to introduce 3G technology (MEED 19:4:02; 25:1:01).

A tender is expected to be issued by March for the contract to supply and install the new technology, which will allow subscribers to access the internet at speeds of 2 megabits a second and use multimedia services. Etisalat has about 2.4 million GSM subscribers.

Etisalat is also pressing ahead with the upgrade of its current network, which has 1.1 million subscribers. An estimated Eur 5 million ($4.9 million) contract has been awarded to Alcatel to add a further 38,000 new lines.

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