3 Italia users to benefit from high-speed HSPA and LTE access

To better meet the mobile data traffic growth, Italy’s leading operator, 3 Italia has signed an extension of its network transformation agreement with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC). Ericsson will transform and upgrade 3 Italia’s existing 3G mobile broadband access, core and transport network to support 42Mbps HSPA and 100Mbps LTE, or 4G. With this contract, Ericsson strengthens its position as main supplier for 3 Italia.

Once the work is complete, 3 Italia users will enjoy a world-class mobile broadband network with increased speed, coverage, capacity, performance and services. By the end of March 2012, 3 Italia will be the only operator in Italy to offer up to 42 Mbps downlink coverage and up to 5,76 Mpbs in uplink on all its nationwide network and have the network ready for commercial launch of 100 Mbps LTE in 2012. Thanks to the extension of the ongoing services partnership – which includes managed services – between the two parties, the operator will benefit from improved operational efficiency and reduced costs. The introduction of LTE services, supported by the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), meanwhile, will result in users enjoying service of 100Mbps.

Vincenzo Novari, 3 Italia’s CEO, says: “Thanks to our continued successful cooperation with Ericsson, we will remain a reference for innovation and network development in the Italian market. We are taking another step toward meeting the demand for mobile broadband connectivity and services from Italian consumers and enterprises. We are making HSPA+ coverage available on the entire nationwide network from the end of March and will launch LTE services already in 2012. Our network will become even more efficient at handling data traffic, ensuring a better quality of experience for our customers.”

Nunzio Mirtillo, Ericsson’s head of Region Mediterranean, says: “We are encouraged to see this endorsement of 3 Italia’s trust in us as prime partner. We believe strongly in supporting operators that intend to remain competitive and are wisely investing in upgrading their networks to ensure the best possible coverage, capacity and performance for their users. It is great to help our long-term partner, 3 Italia, continue its transformation into high-speed mobile broadband and LTE at a time when dynamism and innovation are so important.”

The deal marks another step in the long-standing collaboration between 3 Italia and Ericsson, which started in 2001 when 3 Italia chose Ericsson as the main partner for its 3G core and access technology. In 2005, the operator assigned Ericsson as exclusive partner for managed services of its multi-vendor network and telecom IS/IT infrastructure. In 2009, 3 Italia awarded Ericsson a network transformation deal to upgrade its WCDMA/HSPA network and extend the managed services deal.