State-owned telco Uzbektelecom has signed a USD117.6 million deal with Chinese vendor Huawei for the supply of telecoms equipment for its mobile unit, Uzmobile, as the cellco looks to begin work on deploying a GSM network to operate in parallel with its existing CDMA-450 platform. The deal was financed by loans from the State Development Bank of China and Uzbekistan’s Aloqabank, the former providing USD100 million and the latter the remaining USD17.6 million. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, in February 2014 Uzbektelecom revealed plans to set up its own GSM network using the frequencies relinquished by defunct Russian-backed operator MTS Uzbekistan. Under the plan, the new cellco would deploy 1,020 base stations, along with 500 sets of radio relay equipment, a communication station and a billing system for two million numbers by the end of 2014, whilst subsequent expansions were scheduled until the end of 2017. MTS’s subsequent agreement to return to the country and establish a new operator via a joint venture agreement with the government in August 2014 cast doubt on the continuation of Uzbektelecom’s GSM rollout programme, but in late September the state-owned telco confirmed that it was forging ahead with the deployment, but had been delayed by difficulties with its equipment tender.