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Nokia wins expansion of Tehran mobile network

Middle East Economic Digest
August 18, 2000

Finland's Nokia has been chosen to expand and upgrade the Tehran mobile phone network. The GSM 900 network will help to raise capacity in the capital to about 1.5 million subscribers in mid-2001.The company announced the contract from the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) in early August.

Nokia is to provide a capacity for 300,000 subscribers on the radio network and 650,000 subscribers on the switching side, a company official in Tehran said.

The contract boosts Nokia's position as the leading global system for mobiles (GSM) supplier in Iran. The company helped set up the 400,000- subscriber-capacity Tehran network in the 1990s - along with Italy's Italtel and Siemens of Germany.

The mobile phone network in the capital has been criticised as inefficient and in need of a comprehensive upgrade. While expanding the network, Nokia will also be replacing old equipment.

"We are pleased to sign this deal with such an innovative operator in the Middle East as TCI," says Pertti Melamies, area vice-president for Nokia. "Our leading position in Iran today gives us full confidence of being a frontrunner in the mobile market boom in Iran."

In April, Sweden's Ericsson was chosen by TCI to expand the national mobile phone network by 400,000 lines to 1.1 million lines (MEED 28:4:00).

TCI is expected to issue a tender in early 2001 for a further expansion of the national network, raising capacity by 400,000-1 million. "TCI still hasn't made up its mind which figure to aim for, but given the constant expansion of demand, it is likely to be the higher target," a European executive said in August.


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