United Arab Emirates-based telecoms operator Etisalat has completed a nationwide upgrade of its 3G mobile network to enable download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps over its end-to-end all-IP network. The upgrade follows three months of pilot tests in the country’s major cities. ‘In other countries where this technology has been deployed, the performance of the wireless network is limited by its reliance on legacy cable infrastructure in the operator’s backbone,’ said Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, COO of Etisalat, adding, ‘Etisalat has completed a state-of-the-art, nationwide fibre-optic backbone which is able to deliver much greater capacity than legacy systems. This means that when we promise 14.4Mbps, we deliver.’ In March this year the operator completed a stage in its roadmap to bring HSPA+ to the Middle East, which would enable mobile broadband download speeds of up to 21Mbps. In trials in the UAE, Etisalat reportedly recorded average downstream speeds of 20.37Mbps.