GSM operator Etisalat Lanka has announced plans to spend USD163 million to expand its network into northern areas of Sri Lanka and to launch mobile broadband services based on W-CDMA/HSPA+ technology in urban areas, reports Lanka Business Online. The expansion will involve deploying 480 new GSM base stations, taking the total to 1,580, plus over 500 3G base stations to be built on existing locations, using Alcatel-Lucent as the main vendor. The cellco’s CEO Duminda Ratnayaka said that the launch of mobile broadband services would provide maximum data speeds of 28.8Mbps. Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) purchased the operator, formerly known as Tigo Sri Lanka, from Millicom International Cellular in October 2009. The firm added that its subscriber base was now close to three million (up from 2.2 million at end-June 2009, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database).