MobiFon has announced it will launch a commercial UMTS network covering eight cities on 25 April, making it the first operator in Romania to introduce 3G services. Its 3G network, marketed under the company’s Connex banner, will initially cover Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara, Brasov, Iasi, Constanta, Craiova, Ploiesti as well as the main roads between Bucharest and Brasov. MobiFon is offering an introductory package including discounts of up to a third on 3G handsets.
MobiFon began its preparation for the rollout of 3G in 2002 when it contracted Nortel Networks to provide it with a converged packet voice and data network capable of supporting its existing nationwide 2G network and providing a smooth migration to 3G. In September 2004 it made the country’s first 3G video call over its trial W-CDMA network and two months later received one of two USD35 million, 15-year UMTS licences. It subsequently announced its intention to be the first Romanian cellco to launch 3G commercially, and in February 2005 signed a deal with German equipment supplier Siemens for its national rollout.