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Hutchison 3G Austria Swaps Out Entire UMTS Network for ZTE-based HSPA+ Solution

Rip and replace is not a commonly used phrase these days, but that’s exactly what they’re doing over at Hutchison 3G (News - Alert) Austria. The company revealed today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain that it plans to replace completely its existing UMTS network – including the transmission, radio and core network gear – with new infrastructure from ZTE (News - Alert).

Jan Trionow, CEO of Hutchison 3G Austria, explained that the move will help the wireless service provider better respond to growing mobile data needs while keeping its operating costs relatively (compared to UMTS, anyway) low. He declined to quantify the expected operational cost savings.

Although Hutchison 3G Austria noted that video is a key driver for the upgrade, when asked, Trionow did not provide details on what specific new services could help justify the capital expense of deploying the new HSPA+ (and LTE (News - Alert) upgradable) network. In any case, the dual-carrier HSPA+ update, which is halfway complete at this point, enables end user speeds of up to 42mbps and results in a tenfold increase in network capacity, according to the company. The company noted that will allow for the delivery of HD-quality video over the network.

“The traffic is growing at enormous rates,” said Trionow. “Above all, videos are the major driver of this development and now represent the largest share of the total data. In the past five years, we recorded an increase of 1,000 percent. Thus, the 3MegaNetz currently transmits over 1 petabyte per month – more than any other mobile network in Austria.”

What’s more, Hutchison 3G Austria last year increased its customer base by 26 percent, meaning it now serves more than 1 million customers.

The company expects to complete the 3MegaNetwork upgrade – for which ZTE will be the primary provider of core network, radio and transmission equipment – this fall, said Trionow. The carrier also plans to leverage FDD and, later, TDD technology, in metropolitan areas to enable transmission rates of up to 100mbps. The first example of this is already operational in Vienna.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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