The UAE’s second national telecoms operator Du is in the process of choosing the provider of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, local newspaper The National reports. ‘We have agreed with a number of suppliers to do testing and… test under a number of scenarios,’ said Hatem Bamatraf, the Dubai-based firm’s senior vice president for network development. Finnish vendor Nokia Siemens Networks, Sweden’s Ericsson and Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE have reportedly been shortlisted to supply the equipment for Du’s 4G rollout. Bamatraf added that he expects the technology to be commercially available sometime this year, but could not specify a particular date. He did reveal that it would be mainly available in certain ‘hotspots’ throughout the UAE: ‘We don’t expect to go 100% across the country, like the 3G [network]… There will be areas such as the TECOM areas or Jumeirah or the shopping malls that will have it. You won’t need it along the roads because you won’t need to use such fast data while you’re driving.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Du’s only rival, incumbent operator Etisalat, launched a trial LTE network with ZTE in October 2009, and lab and field tests were completed in June 2010. A commercial launch was slated for end-2010, but has not yet taken place.