Saskatchewan-based full-service telecoms operator SaskTel has awarded a contract to Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to build the core network component of a 3G/3.5G W-CDMA/HSPA system across its home province. The Finnish vendor will provide infrastructure including mobile softswitching and a packet core solution with ‘direct tunnel’ functionality, as well as harmonised subscriber management systems. The ultimate aim is to future-proof SaskTel for a smooth transition to fourth-generation technology based on the Long-term Evolution (LTE) standard. SaskTel currently owns and operates a 3G network in Saskatchewan based on CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology, whilst it recently signed a network sharing agreement with nationwide operators Bell and Telus for the deployment of UMTS/HSPA infrastructure, with the overall aim of giving 98% of residents in the region access to UMTS/HSPA services by end-2010, with nationwide roaming available over the national shared network of Bell/Telus.
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