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Ericsson Wins 3G Contract for Isolated Kingdom of Bhutan

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Ericsson says that it has been selected by Bhutan Telecom (BTL) to supply a WCDMA HSPA network for the mountain kingdom. Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will supply an HSPA enabled network, including WCDMA radio access equipment, all IP core and transmission. Ericsson will also be responsible for network design, deployment and integration of BTL's existing GSM network.

Rollout will begin in November, starting in the towns of Thimpu and Paro before going nationwide. The new state-of-the-art network will provide a host of services, including high-speed internet access, e-mail, video telephony, MMS (multimedia messaging) and many innovative content-based services.

Thinley Dorji, Managing Director at BTL, says: "The need to roll out a state-of-the-art network cost-effectively to provide our customers with the best possible communication experience was of paramount importance. This contract extends our long-running relationship with Ericsson, with their industry expertise making them the natural partner of choice for this project."

Bhutan Telecom is the sole live operator in the country, although the Tashi Group has recently been granted a license in the country. According to the Mobile World, there are only 100,000 mobile phone users and population penetration is just below 5%.

Within Bhutan, foreign influences and tourism are heavily regulated by the government to preserve the country's traditional culture and national identity. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding seven thousand metres. Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion and accounts for about half the population.

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Tags: mms  wcdma  bhutan telecom  Bhutan