Huawei to fund Smart 3G network

21 Nov 2005

Ireland’s newest 3G licensee Smart Telecom says that its infrastructure partner Huawei Technologies will fund the build-out of its W-CDMA network. The telco says that the EUR55 million it raised in a rights issue earlier this month will continue to be used for the expansion of its fixed line broadband network and not be redirected to its mobile operations. The rollout of Smart’s 3G network is expected to cost Huawei between EUR250 million and EUR300 million. ComReg offered Smart the country’s fourth 3G licence last week. The telco beat applications from eircom and Meteor Mobile, judged on a number of criteria including speed of network rollout and coverage plans. Smart is required to launch services by 30 April 2007, with 33% population coverage by end-October 2009, rising to 53% by 2011. The 3G spectrum access fee is EUR114.3 million, with annual spectrum and admin charges of up to EUR2.5 million. Hutchison Whampoa, Vodafone and O2 hold Ireland’s other 3G licences.

Meanwhile, Smart has teamed up with satellite broadcaster BSkyB to launch pay-TV services over its broadband network. Smart customers can now sign up to premium Sky TV channels alongside their normal communications services. The ‘Sky By Wire’ services starts at EUR31.50 a month, including a digital set-top box.