du increases LTE expansion target as data demand grows

du is ramping up its LTE network rollout, pledging to extend the deployment by a quarter to meet surging demand for mobile data in the UAE, the operator's domestic market.

The operator said it would expand its LTE network by 25 per cent and thus go beyond its original expansion plan for 2014, after analysis of data usage patterns revealed strong growth. du doubled its domestic LTE coverage in the first quarter of 2014, and aims to complete the additional capacity rollout by the year-end.

Saleem Al-Balooshi, du's executive vice president for network development and operations, said that data usage is growing in line with global trends and that the network expansion will contribute to the targets of UAE 'smart' networking initiatives covering government and cities.

"[W]e have added value to our network by increasing it beyond our original plans for 2014. This will allow customers to experience seamless 4G LTE connectivity in more areas than before," Al-Balooshi stated.

du recently launched voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the first of several developments of its LTE network. The operator is also gearing up to launch multimedia services including high-definition (HD) voice, HD video, file sharing and instant messaging.

The operator has also field-tested LTE Advanced (LTE-A) Carrier Aggregation between the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, opening the door for faster speed and reliability for subscribers. du also plans to deploy IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technology later in 2014, after contracting Nokia Networks to deploy the technology in June.

Ericsson recently revealed the number of mobile subscribers in the Middle East as a whole grew by 6 million year-on-year in the second quarter of 2014, an increase of 108 per cent on the same period in 2013. In an interim update to its regular Mobility Report, Ericsson said total mobile subscriptions in the region hit 370 million at the end of the second quarter.

For more:
- see this du release

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