SFR selects NSN and Alca-Lu to upgrade 3G network and trial LTE

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The French operator SFR has awarded Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Alcatel-Lucent contracts to carry out a major expansion and upgrade of its 2G/3G networks. In addition, SFR will work with both suppliers to commence trialling LTE to evaluate the possible performance and how the technology could allow it to introduce new multimedia services.

NSN said that it would be supplying its Flex Multiradio base stations under a three-year agreement that would allow SFR to reuse the GSM900 MHz frequency band, previously used for 2G services, to expand 3G broadband services into rural areas and simplify its network. NSN said it would also implement, operate and maintain SFR's mobile packet core and its associated IP network.

For its part, Alca-Lu announced it would be providing a RAN platform based on the newly announced MC-TRX radio module, which is capable of delivering 2G and 3G, and should help the operator evolve towards LTE.

This move by SFR come after the company had protested loudly over the award of the country's fourth 3G licence to Iliad. Some observer believe the company had been prepared to wait before deciding to trial LTE, but the competitive nature of Iliad might have hastened the move to invest in LTE.

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