NewsEast & Horn AfricaEthio-telecom to scrap 3G for LTE


Posted on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 13:29

Ethio-telecom to scrap 3G for LTE

By Alpha K.

Photo©ReutersEthiopian state-owned telecommunications firm, Ethio-telecom is planning to upgrade its current telecommunications infrastructure to LTE (long term evolution) from the current 3G network.

Ethio-telecom is the country's only telecommunications provider and is one of the government's major income earners.

In preparation for the launch of LTE, Ethio-telecom says it has divided the country into 11 infrastructure zones.

The new zoning system, the telecoms company says, will allow only a sole vendor to offer its services within any given circle.

The development of the new 11 zones will be distributed between Chinese firms, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation.

The two firms are presently working on the expansion and upgrading of Ethio-telecom's network.

Presently, Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens and ZTE have each set up networks for Ethio-telecom.

"Network problems will greatly ease as soon as this new network becomes operational," Mesfin Belachew, an official at the Ministry of communications and Information Technology said at a press briefing.

Estimated to cost nearly $1.5 billion, the two-year project aims to double the country's existing 21 million mobile users by 2015.

LTE is a wireless broad band technology, which supports browsing and downloading at 300 megabits a second and is expected to be six times faster than 3G downloading speeds.

Despite a clogged network, the Horn of Africa nation has barred private telecommunication firms, citing security fears.

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