Israeli mobile network operator Partner Communications is understood to have begun preparatory work on its strategy for the introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, according to a report by local news source Globes Online. Partner is reportedly preparing to hold a tender for proposals on an upgrade to its existing core network, alongside additional network components that would enable it to launch commercial 4G services as soon as it received the requisite frequencies. Fourth-generation spectrum is expected to be released by the Israeli Defence Force by early 2012. Additionally, it is understood that Partner has also resolved to utilise spectrum it currently holds in the 900MHz band, and which is being used for GSM-based services, to offer 3G services; at present Partner uses the 2100MHz band for its third generation services.
Partner has also revealed that it will seriously consider vendors other than its current main supplier Ericsson, which the cellco criticised last month for alleged arrogant behaviour towards it; Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent have all been mooted as possible vendors of interest. Commenting on the possible consideration of alternative vendors, an unnamed senior source at Partner noted: ‘NSN and Huawei are companies that have shown us that they have impressive solutions for rolling out an LTE network, alongside Ericsson. We will upgrade our core network to IP so that we can unite voice and data, and we will upgrade the network to speeds of 21Mbps and 42Mbps in the future. We have switched suppliers in the past, why shouldn’t we do it again?’