26 Nov 2014
Vala, the wireless arm of state-backed incumbent Post and Telecommunications Kosovo (PTK), has launched 3G services and unveiled plans to activate 4G in January 2015. Vala’s 3G network covers Pristina and the surrounding area, including Pristina International Airport, although the cellco is working on expanding the system towards Vushtrri, Mitrovice, Ferizaj and Gjilan, whilst launches are also planned in Prizren, Gjakova and Suva Reka. In order to support the new 3G network and the upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform, PTK is planning to invest in expanding the reach of its fibre-optic networks. The operator notes that the fibre routes are based on gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology, and that the expansion programme will be focused on seven key areas. PTK’s total CAPEX for 2014 and 2015 will exceed EUR100 million (USD124.4 million), the telco added.
In an interview with the Kosova Press, Vala’s director, Valon Zhuniqi explained that two vendors had been involved in the 3G rollout, namely Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Networks. The former’s contract was valued at EUR28 million, and the latter’s EUR3.9 million, he added. Another senior official added that Vala aims to extend 3G and 4G coverage to the entire territory of Kosovo by around March/April 2015.
In a related development, rival mobile network operator (MNO) IPKO announced earlier this week that it is ‘ready’ to launch 4G services. Telegrafi writes that IPKO’s LTE network will initially cover the busiest areas of Pristina and Pristina International Airport. The cellco also said it would offer a range of 4G-compatible handsets, offering the devices as part of its Mega tariffs. It is unclear whether or not IPKO’s 4G network has been activated yet, however – according to the Kosova Press, the service is not yet available.