French-US equipment vendor Alcatel-Lucent has announced the signing of an agreement with Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates’ incumbent telecoms operator, for the deployment of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the UAE. Using Alcatel-Lucent’s end-to-end solution, Etisalat will roll out the 4G network in the first quarter of 2011. The vendor will provide its High Leverage Network solution, which includes LTE base stations (eNodeBs), an all-IP wireless Evolved Packet Core (EPC), a converged end-to-end network management solution and a range of professional services including project management, planning, installation, commissioning and integration. ‘This is a crucial step towards the adoption of LTE in the Middle East. Alcatel-Lucent’s technical leadership and transformation expertise will help Etisalat unleash LTE’s full business potential and deliver a mobile broadband experience far beyond anything that has been seen before in the region,’ commented Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, adding: ‘This agreement expands our long standing relationship with Etisalat and is further evidence of the trust they have in our company across multiple technologies and our ability and support the next generation mobile network.’
In a separate story, Emirates 24/7 reports that Etisalat has been given approval from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to start charging mobile phone calls by the second. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA, said the move was to ensure healthy competition in UAE telecoms market.