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Simobil Announces Large-Scale Network Upgrade

Ljubljana, 07 July (STA) - Slovenia's second largest mobile operator Simobil announced on Thursday a thorough upgrade of its network with UMTS 900 technology. UMTS coverage is to increase from 69.2% to 85.9% by October, giving Simobil the largest and most advanced UMTS network in Slovenia, Simobil management said at a press conference.

This is one of the largest technological upgrades in Simobil's history, the company's chairman Dejan Turk said.

Management board member Milan Zaletel meanwhile explained that an average of EUR 10m was usually invested annually in the network, but this year, the investments are increased to some EUR 15m.

Along with introducing the 900 MHz UMTS, which is very useful for covering rural areas, as it has a wider reach than the 2,100 MHz frequency, Simobil will upgrade part of its existing UMTS network with the HSPA+ technology.

After the upgrade, most of the network will allow internet access and data transfer speeds of up to 21 Mb/s.

Simobil will upgrade 40% of its GSM network with UMTS 900, mostly in rural areas of the upper Gorenjsko region and the entire eastern half of the country, said management board member Ulrich Rokita. Cities, congress centres and tourist destinations already have UMTS 2,100.

During the upgrade, short blackouts of up to 20 minutes can be expected for individual base stations, but overlapping transmitters will allow work without major interferences.

According to Simobil, the new equipment will also be more energy efficient, using up 30% less power than the current one, and will allow the introduction of next-generation technologies like Dual Carrier and LTE.

Simobil recently tested LTE technology, which allows transfer speeds over 100 Mb/s and marks the fourth generation of mobile phones. LTE was tested in Ljubljana on frequencies between 800 MHz and 2,600 MHz.

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