Communications technology giant Alcatel has won a major contract to roll out mobile firm Orange’s 3G infrastructure in Northern Ireland, siliconrepublic.com has learned.
Alcatel has also signed contracts with Orange France and Orange UK to carry out significant 3G/UMTS deployments in France and to become Orange’s second supplier in the UK.
The Northern Ireland roll out will be part of a broad UK 3G/UMTS roll-out that will see infrastructure put in place in 3G/UMTS network infrastructure in all of Scotland and the northeast of England.
“Alcatel has demonstrated extensive technical capabilities and industry leadership to support the ambitions of the Orange Group in UMTS,” said Didier Quillot, executive vice president, Orange France. “We were extremely impressed by Alcatel’s deployment efficiency which surpasses industry standards.”
“We are glad to provide Orange with our network infrastructure,” said Marc Rouanne, chief operating officer of Alcatel’s mobile activities. “These new contracts with Orange give us a large responsibility for their French deployment and a real opportunity to become a key player in the development of 3G in the UK.”
The Orange 3G rollout in Northern Ireland will rest alongside similar all-Ireland 3G network rollouts by Vodafone, 02 and Hutchison 3G (3).
The Orange group is one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies, with operations in 19 countries across Europe and beyond. As at the end of December 2003, Orange was the largest mobile operator in both the UK with 13.6 million active customers, and France with over 20 million registered customers. As at the end of December 2003, Orange-controlled companies had over 49 million customers worldwide.
The company was unsuccessful in its bid to become Ireland’s third GSM license holder, sparking a controversial court case that delayed third licence holder Meteor’s entry into the marketplace until 2001.
By John Kennedy