Monaco begins 3G network testing

A telecommunication operator in the tiny European principality of Monaco has begun testing mobile multimedia applications across a third-generation (3G) wireless network, one of the two network suppliers said Wednesday.

NEC Corp., which supplied the radio equipment, said engineers at Monaco Telecom have begun testing applications including e-mail, mobile Internet, hi-fi quality music and video-on-demand while on the move. Together with Siemens AG, which supplied the core network, the two companies are watching the trials to see how the 3G signal holds up among Monaco's tall buildings.

The two companies won the Monaco Telecom contract earlier this year. The network consists of seven base stations which provides total coverage of the two-square-kilometer principality bordering France on the Mediterranean.

NEC has already had some real-life feedback for its 3G network infrastructure and handsets. Both are being used on NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s 3G network, which entered commercial service in Japan in October this year, and NEC is the main equipment supplier to Manx Telecom Ltd., which began testing of its 3G network on the Isle of Man earlier in December.

Monaco Telecom is a subsidiary of Vivendi Telecom International and currently operates GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks in the country for three French operators.

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