NSN already supplies GSM equipment to StarHub, Singapore's second-largest mobile operator with 2.1 million customers at the end of 2011. The vendor had also provided 3G equipment to StarHub, but that changed in 2007, when the operator replaced NSN's 3G gear with Huawei's. (See StarHub Picks Huawei for HUSPA StarHub Launches HSPA+ and StarHub Leads in Singapore Dual Carrier Race.)
So it was NSN's installed GSM equipment that gave the vendor the edge over Huawei for StarHub's LTE network contract. That's because StarHub will deploy LTE using its GSM spectrum at 1800MHz.
"NSN reduces our risk," said Mock Pak Lum, head of infrastructure at StarHub. "It's easier to use NSN for LTE. All we have to do is change the software in the base station and compress voice traffic."
If StarHub had selected Huawei for this LTE deployment, it would have had to replace all of its GSM base stations, according to Mock.
StarHub has already freed up 10MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum for the LTE rollout. The operator plans to turn on the 4G network by the end of this year.
But that's not the only mobile broadband action for NSN in Asia/Pac. The vendor announced that it will supply LTE and HSPA+ gear to Japan's SoftBank Corp. , as well as provide an HSPA+ upgrade to Thailand's state-owned operator TOT. It also recently won an Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) deal with Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) in India. (See Softbank Deploys LTE With NSN and Thailand's TOT Upgrades 3G With NSN .)
Why this matters
With these contracts, NSN appears to be on a mobile broadband roll in Asia/Pac. The LTE deployment with StarHub is particularly important because it is a vote of confidence in NSN's offering that enables GSM and LTE to run concurrently over 1800MHz, which is a scenario many operators worldwide are considering.
- STC to Expand LTE With NSN
- NSN Manages for Bharti
- NSN CEO: We've Got Our Mojo Back
- NSN's Rajeev Suri: Carrier Capex & Customer Experience
- NSN's Rajeev Suri: Restructuring, Research & Resilience
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile