Hutch boosts 3G network after Telstra deal

Two weeks after signing an AU$450 million heads of agreement to allow Telstra to share its 3G infrastructure, Hutchison 3G Australia has announced a "very significant" expansion of the network. Neither Hutchison nor Ericsson were keen to release too many details of the expansion, beyond stating it would involve the supply of additional 3G WCDMA network hardware, software and services and the project was in response to customer growth.

Two weeks after signing an AU$450 million heads of agreement to allow Telstra to share its 3G infrastructure, Hutchison 3G Australia has announced a "very significant" expansion of the network.

Neither Hutchison nor Ericsson were keen to release too many details of the expansion, beyond stating it would involve the supply of additional 3G WCDMA network hardware, software and services and the project was in response to customer growth.

The value of the deal is believed to be in the vicinity of AU$200 million to AU$300 million.

"Working closely with Ericsson, Hutchison is growing the capacity of the 3 network according to customer growth, "said Victa McClelland, chief technical officer Hutchison Telecoms.

"This capacity expansion project is in response to market demand and our continued dedication to deliver and build on the leading-edge service that we provide to 3 customers."

Ericsson supplied and delivered the integrated infrastructure for Hutchison's existing 3 network in Australia and has a 7-year managed service agreement that covers all of Hutchison's Australian technical operations.

Hutchison said in its half-year results yesterday it was on track to complete the peripheral build of more than 200 network sites this year, bringing the overall total to 2,000 across the licence areas.

Under the agreement with Telstra, Hutchison 3G Australia and the telecommunications heavyweight will establish a 50/50 enterprise to jointly own and operate H3GA's existing 3G radio access network and fund future network development. The agreement also allows both parties to share their 3G spectrum. The deal is expected to clear regulatory hurdles and be finalised by November.

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