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Pacific Island Nation of Kiribati to Get 3G/LTE Network

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Australian based telecoms mobile system integrator, Challenge Networks, has been awarded a turnkey contract to build a new mobile network in Kiribati for the national carrier TSKL.

The multiphase project will roll out a 3G and LTE (700 MHz) network across the main population centres of the 22 populated islands and four time zones that make up the distributed central Pacific island nation.

The network, which will be the first LTE implementation in the Pacific islands, is based the "Distributed Mobile Wireless Network" technology from USA based vendor Lemko.

Key to the TSKL requirements was to build a network that not only provided a high level of service to the main population and administrative centre on the island of Tarawa but also provided the same level of service to remote islands, some of which only have populations of a few hundred. Another key issue was how to build a mobile network where the various islands are only connected via satellite links.

Simon Lardner from Challenge Networks says" It's a privilege to work with TSKL to build a revolutionary network in what is perhaps one of the most technically challenging locations in the world for mobile technology. The highly distributed nature of the population coupled with the technical and commercial difficulties of only having satellite backhaul make this a very exciting project. "

Traditional mobile network architectures are completely unsuitable for countries like Kiribati due to every island only connected to each other and to the rest of the world via satellite. To deal with this, the rollout will include the use of LTE over satellite, meshed satellite networks and a distributed mobile core.

The island nation first gained GSM phones at the end of 2002 when Alcatel-Lucent deployed a network for TSKL on two of the main islands, although it had been operating a limited 300-person analoge network before that.

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Tags: tskl  lemko  Kiribati