Azouaou Mehmel, general manager of Algerie Telecom (AT), has revealed that more than 250 base transceiver stations (BTS) capable of supporting fixed wireless Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology are currently in operation throughout the country, with a total capacity of 100,000 customers, domestic news source El Moudjahid reports. According to the executive, there were at least two 4G-enabled BTS in each of the country’s 48 wilayas (provinces), with plans to further expand the LTE footprint in 2015 to remote areas where it is difficult to install fibre-optic cables. The CEO also added that the company had signed up 80,000 LTE subscribers since the launch of the technology.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June 2013 Mr Mehmel said in an interview with Algerie Press Service (APS) that commercial LTE technology would be introduced by the end of 2013, and that business customers would be the initial target group because of the high cost. Mr Mehmel added that the tender for the acquisition of LTE equipment was worth an estimated EUR40 million (USD53.42 million). However, the LTE launch was subsequently delayed, and it was May 2014 before the 4G network was commercially introduced to business users. AT revealed at the time that it had deployed 200 ‘eNodeB’ sites across the 48 wilayas, with plans to install 2,000 LTE-enabled BTS by end-2015.