By Zoe Moleshead
With 3G rollouts expected to gather momentum over the coming 12 months, Etisalat has announced plans to trial a 3G/UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system) solution from Alcatel.
Many analyst groups have touted wireless as a hot topic for 2003, while part of this growth will be fuelled by an increasing number of wireless local area networks (WLANs), 3G rollouts are also expected to gather momentum over the coming 12 months.At a regional level, Etisalat has announced plans to trial a 3G/UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system) solution from Alcatel, with other local PTTs also in discussions with vendors to test equipment.“2003 will be the year where we start seeing 3G outside Japan. We believe we will see most of the players in Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific launch commercial 3G services,” says Leif-Olof Wallin, program director, global networking strategies, Meta Group.“All the 3G technology vendors claim to have plenty of live pilots. If you talk to Alcatel, Siemens, Nokia or Ericsson… they all claim to have four or five pilots in the Gulf States. The telcos in the Gulf States might be more cautious about figuring out their business plans and the return-on-investment (ROI) before they jump to rollout 3G, but there is an awful lot of 3G equipment in the region,” he continues.Etisalat’s project with Alcatel will see a comprehensive range of 3G kit deployed as part of the vendor’s Evolium solution. The 3G infrastructure incorporates an UMTS terresterial radio access network (UTRAN) radio systems, an UMTS base station, radio network controllers (RNC), core network systems and other multimedia equipment and terminals.Building on the Evolium solution, Etisalat will be able to broaden its service offerings and deliver multimedia applications including chat, video streaming, online gaming and multimedia session initiated protocol (SIP) calls between both voice and video terminals.“Alcatel’s Evolium UMTS infrastructure is a solution which provides the capability of high speed data and video transfers. Whether it is surfing the internet, having online access to information, images or videos, or for transferring video images. Alcatel’s UMTS trial systems provide data rates that can reach 384 K/bits/s,” says Marc Rouanne, president, mobile networks, Alcatel.