LibanCell, the leading GSM network operator in Lebanon, today announced the introduction of nationwide General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) high-speed mobile data services over a Motorola (NYSE: MOT) network and with Motorola handsets. Commercial service is scheduled to begin in early September.
The GPRS network infrastructure, supplied by Motorola's Global Telecom Solutions Sector (GTSS), includes Internet Protocol (IP) technology from Cisco Systems Inc. and will be deployed across LibanCell's entire network, which today serves 385,000 subscribers.
LibanCell's GPRS network will launch with Motorola's Timeport(TM) p7389i phone -- the world's first GSM tri-band GPRS handset.
"LibanCell, in partnership with Motorola, demonstrated the GPRS technology in August 2000," said Hussein Rifai, LibanCell chairman and general manager. "The public interest in the GPRS potential encouraged us to empower LibanCell's network with wireless data infrastructure, keeping up with our tradition to continuously enhance LibanCell's network with the latest GSM developments."
"LibanCell's success is a superb example of a leading operator partnering with a leading supplier to deliver an end-to-end solution for the new generation of mobile technology," said Jeff Cherif, Motorola general manager for GTSS's Middle East & Africa Division. "We are delighted to be the enabler behind the implementation of GPRS in the new world of the wireless data."
GPRS enables high-speed access to Internet-based content and services via a mobile terminal and opens up the mobile market to a wealth of data applications, including e-commerce, email and data transfer. Motorola's GPRS radio network can be implemented over an existing GSM network, which can help protect an operator's investment, with a software load and a packet control unit addition.
Motorola has supplied LibanCell's GSM system solutions since 1994. The contract to implement Motorola's high-speed GPRS network end- to-end solution was signed in December 2000. It provides for the countrywide implementation of Motorola's GPRS radio network solution that includes the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), supplied by Motorola Computer Group, and the Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) from Cisco Systems. Motorola and LibanCell conducted trials in 2000 and made the first live GPRS call in Lebanon on the LibanCell network in July 2000. The service was demonstrated to the public during Termium 2000, a major technology exhibition in the Middle East.
"For us, GPRS is not about technology," said LibanCell's Rifai. "We believe it brings additional value to the services we offer to our subscribers. That is why we decided to implement GPRS across the LibanCell network, east to west, north to south. We are the first operator in the region to deploy GPRS infrastructure countrywide. I would like to highlight the winning partnerships we have with both Motorola and Cisco. From the day LibanCell started its network rollout, our teams work hand in hand to explore and implement emerging technologies, for the benefit of the Lebanese customer."
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