Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it is to deploy its virtualized radio network controller in Etisalat Group’s access network in both the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka. The vendor says the deployment will enable Etisalat to benefit from the greater flexibility and efficiency in its radio access network (RAN) operations afforded by network functions virtualization (NFV), lowering operational costs while meeting escalating demand for data from its subscribers. Under Etisalat’s network modernisation program, Alcatel-Lucent is deploying its 9771 Wireless Cloud Element (WCE) Radio Network Controller in the UAE and Sri Lanka. The WCE platform has already been deployed at Etisalat’s subsidiary in Saudi Arabia, Mobily. Etisalat is the dominant fixed line and cellular operator in the UAE, while its Sri Lankan operation claims third place in the country’s mobile market.