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Eesti Telekom to Add Nearly 20% More Base Stations in 2015

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Estonia's Eesti Telekom has outlined plans to invest 17 million (USD18 million) in its mobile network during this year.

According to Ermo Polma, Head of Radio Network and Transmission at Eesti Telekom, the company plans to set up 620 base stations this year, including building completely new stations and revamping old ones to improve overall coverage density, as well as coverage inside buildings.

"620 is a large number, considering that we have 3,500 base stations in total. We will be improving all networks - 2G, 3G, and 4G".

Ermo Polma said that 2G network will be renewed quite extensively, as it will have 200 new base stations by the end of the year.

"Although it might seem that in the 4G era we do not have to talk about 2G anymore, it is not quite true because most calls are still made in the 2G network. Currently, 4G does not provide voice service and the phone switches to 2G or 3G for making calls. High quality of both voice and data service is important to our customers. Thus, we constantly improve older technologies alongside newer ones".

Because materials used for heat insulation of modern buildings block mobile signal, Eesti Telekom puts a lot of effort into improving coverage inside buildings.

"To improve coverage inside buildings, we will install 150 base stations (repeaters) this year. Our network building strategy supports good in-house coverage as well - we complement high frequencies that enable speed and volume with low frequencies that have better propagation improving connectivity in an indoor environment," Polma explained. To ensure high quality of mobile data service, in 2015 Eesti Telekom will set up 250 4G base stations with 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz frequencies. Some of these base stations will improve coverage inside buildings, others will broaden coverage area and improve network capacity.

EMT's 4G network covers 97% of Estonia, and 3G covers 96%. "If we look at these numbers, we might ask why continue with building the network, as it is almost ready. It is not quite true, though. Mobile coverage is just like a city of Tallinn, which will never be ready. Technology evolves quickly, and thus we need to change old devices to new ones continuously. And this is what we are doing on a daily basis," Polma added.

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Tags: eesti telekom  Estonia