John C. Tanner
23 Nov 2009
SmarTone-Vodafone said it will kick off its 3G service in Macau next year with an all-new fully-IP HSPA+ network – with Nokia Siemens as the sole supplier.
The new turnkey network – which is intended to replace SmarTone’s existing GSM network in Macau – will comprise just over 200 base stations with peak data throughput speeds of 21 Mbps, and upgradeable to 42 Mbps and, over time, LTE, said Mike Wang, NSN head for Taiwan and Hong Kong.
NSN will supply everything from the RAN gear and the backhaul equipment (including Carrier-Ethernet enabled microwave) to the hybrid circuit/packet core.
Neither SmarTone nor NSN gave financial details, but SmarTone CEO Douglas Li said in September when the cellco won Macau’s fourth 3G license that it would invest approximately $23 million in the 3G network.
The partnership marks SmarTone’s first infrastructure deal with NSN, having primarily worked with Ericsson for its Hong Kong network.
SmarTone CTO Stephen Chau told telecomasia.net that the cellco had elected to go with NSN more for its OAM capabilities than its hardware.
“To be honest, when it comes to infrastructure capabilities, between the top-tier vendors, there’s not really all that much difference,” Chau said. “What really matters to us is providing the customer with a reliable and consistent experience, so the OAM part is much more important to us now.”