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[November 13, 2012]
Mobilink to get network upgrades for 3G rollout
(Express Tribune (Pakistan) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) With Islamabad still in the process of launching third generation (3G) cellular spectrum, Mobilink awarded a nationwide network expansion and modernisation project to Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent.
Orascom Telecom - the Egypt-based parent company of Mobilink - signed a five-year agreement with China’s Huawei and France’s Alcatel-Lucent to provide for the design, purchase, deployment, and maintenance of next-generation mobile network equipment and supporting services from two of the world’s leading telecom hardware providers; company’s website said on Sunday. Huawei was awarded 50% of the radio network and 100% of the core and value-added services network, while Alcatel-Lucent was awarded the other 50% of the radio access network.
It is relevant to mention that Mobilink - Pakistan’s largest mobile phone operator - had raised Rs2 billion in secured loan through institutional investors, according to a notice sent to Karachi Stock Exchange in June, 2012. It, however, did not specify if this was meant for network expansion, 3G roll out or mobile banking.
The cellular giant was yet to make an official announcement about this agreement locally. The monetary value of the project was also not made public either by Orascom or Mobilink. Mobilink refused to give any details, saying the development was not made public in Pakistan.
“Any cellular company that is seeking a long-term future in Pakistan has to invest in 3G,” Hussain Ali Talib, company’s manager of corporate communications said in a comment that he related to a press conference by CEO Rashid Khan in January, 2012. Khan had announced Mobilink’s participation in 3G bidding and their network expansion plans for 2012.
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