Friday Network News: June 1
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South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom has reportedly announced the launch of its multi-carrier Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. The operator has said that its technology enables LTE services to be offered in both the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands and will conduct trials in the area from Gangnam Station in Seoul to Kyobo Tower Crossroad, according to the Korea IT Times. A commercial launch of the service is expected in July 2012 with the company saying it aims to have introduced the technology across the whole of Seoul by the end of the year.
France Telecom has acquired a 94% stake in Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil, in a deal confirmed by the Egyptian stock exchange. The deal gives France Telecom a controlling stake in Mobinil after acquiring further shares in the company from Orascom Telecom Media and Technology for just under €2.5 billion. Orascom retained a 5% stake in the mobile operator. Sawiris had previously agreed terms with France Telecom in February to sell a 100% stake in September 2012, inkeeping with the French operator’s strategy to expand in Africa and the Middle East. This preliminary agreement has since been revised.
China Telecom has selected Alcatel-Lucent to build a €100 million FTTH network, delivering services in 31 Chinese provinces. The project is a milestone in China Telecom’s broadband plan which was launched at the beginning of 2011 and aims to bring FTTH coverage to 100 million households and 30 million subscribers by 2015. “Leveraging Alcatel-Lucent’s leading broadband access portfolio and its extensive experience with large-scale deployments around the world, we are able to provide subscribers with a premium broadband experience,” said Wei Leping, director of the Science and Technology Committee at China Telecom.
Deutsche Telekom’s domestic subsidiary has expanded its urban LTE network to the city of Koblenz in Rhineland-Pfalz. Telekom Deutschland first launched services in Cologne having connected approximately 1,000 rural areas as part of its licence obligation. The company aims to have expanded its urban network to 100 towns and cities by the end of the year.
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) is claiming to have deployed the world’s first self-operating 3G and 4G mobile network for Japanese mobile operator KDDI. The intelligent Self Organising Networks (iSON) approach is claimed to automatically deliver consistent voice and data to customers, irrespective of the network they are using. As well as the iSON, NSN is also providing KDDI with professional services.
Verizon has announced that it will more than double the top speeds of its FiOS broadband tiers in the US starting from June. The top tier download speed of its premium offering will be doubled to 300Mbps with an upload speed of 65Mbps. Verizon’s FiOS network has more than 13.7 million customers in parts of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and parts of Florida, Texas, California and the District of Columbia. Verizon expects the total to grow to 18 million as it expands the network to serve more customers and small businesses.
South African broadband provider MWEB has reportedly said that it will switch off its legacy WiMAX broadband network at the end of May, and has already migrated most of its customers to other platforms. Plans to switch off the network were announced in 2008, with MWEB having been refused an extension to its trial licence by South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority. However, the company decided to continue to utilise the network up until now for last mile access.
Qatari telecoms operator Qtel has acquired the full communications infrastructure of Pearl-Qatar island. Qtel will own and operate the network which was previously owned by the artificial island’s developer United Development Company. Qtel plans to introduce its own range of voice, high-speed internet and IPTV services to homes and businesses on the island for the first time.
Sprint has announced that it will begin shutting down its Nextel national network from June 30 2013. The company also announced that it has entered into a $1 billion credit facility with Deutsche Bank and a syndicate of other banks to fund purchases of network equipment from Ericsson, likely to be used for its LTE roll-out. By shutting down the iDEN Nextel network, Sprint will free up spectrum to use for LTE services, which it plans to launch this summer. Customers using the Nextel network will be sent written notices and given the option of transferring to the Sprint’s Direct Connect push-to-talk service, which operates on the company’s 3G CDMA network.
Private equity company CVC Capital Partners has reportedly completed its acquisition of fibre operator Hong Kong Broadband Network from City Telecom. The $657 million deal, which was agreed last month, will also see CVC acquire City Telecom’s international direct dial business. Hong Kong Broadband Network operates a fibre networking passing approximately two million homes, and 1,700 commercial buildings with 617,000 broadband subscribers, 180,000 IPTV customers and 500,000 VoIP telephony customers at the end of March 2012.
Vietnamese operator VMS MobiFone has struck an infrastructure partnership deal with vendor Nokia Siemens Networks to upgrade its packet core network. MobiFone expects the development will result in a 50% increase in network capacity for the company and address the rapid boom for high-speed mobile access in the country. As an extension, NSN will also be contracted to modernise MobiFone’s GSM and 3G radio network in southern and central Vietnam.
Indian carrier Bharti airtel has selected Alcatel-Lucent to create an IP access network based on Carrier Ethernet technology. Alcatel claims that the network will enable Bharti to deliver faster mobile broadband speeds to its customers and meet surging bandwidth requirements from customers. Jagbir Singh, Director – Network Services Group, Bharti airtel said that he thought it was the right time for the company to transition to a scalable IP-based access network for reasons of both cost and security. The network will cater to DSL broadband as well as 2G, 3G and 4G voice and data traffic.