The Isle of Man is set to become the latest rural region in the UK to benefit from the faster mobile internet speeds offered by 4G.
The small island in the middle of the Irish Sea, home to over 80,000 people, will get 4G connectivity in the first half of next year after Manx Telecom, the island's leading telecommunications provider, signed a deal with Chinese networking giant Huawei to deploy a number of the firm's 4G LTE base stations.
Manx Telecom CEO Mike Dee said: ”Building a 4G network is a significant undertaking in terms of both investment and engineering. Over the next three years we will invest £10 million in 4G and we are very excited to announce our partnership with Huawei.”
The Isle of Man Govermnent Communications Commission said that Manx Telecom will be given spectrum assignments in the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands, as well as an entitlement to spectrum in the 2.6GHz band as and when future needs arise.
The network will initially be rolled out to at least 33 percent of the population but it will be available to 95 percent of the island’s population within two years of launch.
Shenzhen-headquartered Huawei said that Manx Telecom is specifically using its SingleRAN LTE solution to integrate its existing GSM/HSPA networks and the new LTE network onto a single platform.
The solution also aims to simplify the overall network structure and cut costs on expenditure for new spectral resources, while also reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and carbon emissions.
Isle of Man, chief minister, Hon Allan Bell MHK said: “A world class telecoms infrastructure is always high on the list of priorities for inward investors, so it’s vitally important that the Isle of Man keeps pace with other leading jurisdictions by introducing 4G.”
One of the main concerns surrounding the suitability of using Huawei as a provider for national infrastructure is that questions remain as to whether it has backdoors built into its equipment that could be used by the Chinese government for spying.
However, by October 2013, Huawei had won more than 217 commercial LTE network contracts and deployed 102 commercial LTE networks worldwide, accounting for 40 percent of awarded LTE network contracts, more than any other vendor globally.