Telecom Services Kiribati Ltd (TSKL) is rolling out a 3G W-CDMA and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile network with a target for launch this year after signing a turnkey deployment contract with Australian mobile systems integrator Challenge Network – a company with a track record in the Pacific region building networks for the Digicel group. As detailed on TSKL’s Facebook page, the planned cost of the first phase is around AUD3 million (USD3.07 million), covering Kiritimati, South Tarawa, North Tarawa and three outer islands. The ‘rest of the islands’ (of Kiribati’s 22 populated isles) are earmarked for coverage in a secondary phase, the company stated. Ordering of equipment is underway and TSKL expects to have all equipment in Tarawa around April/May 2013. The telco aims to make Kiribati the first nation in the Pacific to have a 4G LTE mobile network, using the 700MHz frequency range and ‘Distributed Mobile Wireless Network’ technology from US-based vendor Lemko to reach remote islands which are connected by satellite links. The rollout will utilise LTE over satellite, meshed satellite networks and a distributed mobile core.
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