Telecom Lead Middle East: Etisalat is in talks with
Samsung, LG and HTC to launch tablets and smartphones running on the 4G LTE
network in the third quarter of 2012.
At present, LTE does not support voice and SMS and the UAE
offers dongles to access high-speed data.
Etisalat launched LTE- FDD network that allows full
mobility and smooth transition between LTE and HSPA+ last September.
“We are testing tablets and phones from
manufacturers like Samsung, LG and HTC. We are testing the Samsung tablet and
most probably we will launch it in May,” Saeed Y. Abdullah Al Zarouni,
Etisalat’s senior vice-president of mobile networks, told Gulf News.
Apple’s next-generation tablet is not compatible with the
UAE’s wavelength. The device major is expected to follow the South Korean firm
to bring iPads suited for the region.
Etisalat uses 2.6GHz spectrum for indoors and 1800MHz
spectrum for outdoors. The mobile major is also working with TRA to launch
800MHz bandwidth for nationwide LTE.
According to Informa, the uptake of LTE is very slow due
to lack of devices, and it will take several years for LTE to really become a
Operators in the Middle East are also still in the early
stages of developing their pricing and promotion of LTE to consumers.
In the past year, four Middle East operators have
launched LTE – Etisalat in the UAE; STC, Mobily and Zain in Saudi Arabia.
Etisalat has deployed around 1,000 base stations and its
current LTE footprint spans major cities covering 80 per cent of the
Etisalat will double its 3G mobile broadband speed to
84Mbps from the current 42Mbps by the first quarter of next year due to the
demand for broadband hungry applications.
Over the last year, Etisalat has witnessed a 200 per cent
growth in data roaming traffic.
Etisalat has 3G network covering 99 per cent of the UAE’s
populated area. Its network is ready for 84Mbps, but the current devices can
only support up to 42Mbps.