Bulgarian cellco MobilTel (M-Tel) has completed the modernisation of its 3G network by deploying its 3.5G Dual Carrier (DC)-HSPA+ network, which provides downlink/uplink of 42Mbps/5.76Mbps, to 261 cities and towns, thus covering 67.6% of the country’s population. The operator will now embark on a 2G upgrade project, scheduled to be finalised by the end of the year. Further, the single radio access network (single RAN) programme will also prepare M-Tel’s network for the introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, now expected to take place in the next three years.
According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, M-Tel secured the ‘Class A’ UMTS licence in March 2005, paying EUR40.16 million (USD45.4 million) and outbidding BTC Mobile (now Vivacom) for the 20-year concession. In March 2006 M-Tel commercially launched the country’s first 3G network in Sofia, which was HSDPA-capable from the outset. By mid-2014 M-Tel’s 3G/3.5G network covered 99.73% of the population, or over 7.2 million people.