Friday Network News: July 20

20 July 2012 |


Capacity brings you the latest network news. If you have network developments you'd like us to share, please tweet us @capacitymag or email robert.anderson@capacitymedia.com.

Zimbabwean state-owned mobile operator NetOne has reportedly signed a telecoms equipment deal with Huawei worth $200 million. Techzim reports that the upgrade will cover 2,000 base stations and allows NetOne to roll out additional sites. It is also thought to allow NetOne to upgrade to LTE at a later date. No specific time frame for the upgrade was given, although it is expected to be completed in time to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals on ICTs by 2015. NetOne is Zimbabwe’s smallest mobile operator with 16.3% wireless market share in March 2012, according to TeleGeography. Rivals Telecel Zimbabwe and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe had 18.6% and 65.1% market share respectively during the same period.

Malaysia’s Maxis Communications has entered into an infrastructure and spectrum sharing agreement with broadband provider REDtone International to fast track the deployment of 4G services in the country. By entering into the agreement both companies expect to achieve cost savings while also maximising the use of spectrum. It is claimed that Maxis and REDtone will be able to offer the fastest 4G broadband speeds in Malaysia, up to 150Mbps, as a result of the spectrum combination. Both companies are looking to launch 4G LTE services early next year beginning in areas of the Klang Valley.

Australia’s NBN Co has selected ViaSat to provide the ground-based communications, network management and data processing systems for the long-term satellite service component of the country’s national broadband network project. ViaSat said that the initial value of the contract was in excess of €240 million, and is expected to increase as the network is built out to reach up to 200,000 homes and businesses. Under the contract, ViaSat will supply consumer satellite terminals, including broadband modems and antennas, as well as 13.5m Ka-band satellite antenna for 10 ground station gateway facilities across the country. The NBN Co Long Term Satellite System is due to begin commercial service in 2015 and is targeted at premises out of reach of NBN fixed wireless and fibre-optic services. It will offer initial wholesale peak download speeds of 12Mbps.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has launched the Government-Assisted Technology Endeavour (GATE) project, in partnership with Digicel Group. The project is aimed at driving the development of ICT in the country and will focus upon improving the nation’s broadband internet connectivity to give it a commercial advantage and encourage job creation and GDP growth. Part of the plan involves Digicel and the government launching 4G LTE services, which will be used to improve internet connectivity in classrooms, as well as government buildings. In the first phase of the project 85% of coverage is expected to be put in place, rising to 100% based on demand. Under the plans, Digicel will also build an ICT training facility and a special needs resource centre in the Michael’s Mount area of Antigua.

Tata Communications has extended its video content distribution service into Nigeria through a partnership with Main One Cable Company. The Video Connect service will allow broadcast and production companies in the country to distribute their video content live worldwide, and improve the reach of international broadcasters into the region. The expansion utilises Tata’s global subsea cable network and Main One’s cable linking Europe and west Africa to carry both live and file-based content, with worldwide transmission to over 300 media hotspots.

Fujitsu has expanded its UK 100G national fibre network to cover an additional 2,500km of dark fibre. Equipment vendor ADVA Optical Networking’s 100G Agile Core Platform was deployed for the upgrade. The expansion enables 100G data across Fujitsu’s Managed Wavelength Service, for demanding service, communication and high performance computing tasks. Fujitsu now has access to more than 6,000km of dark fibre in partnership with UK co-location data centre operator SSE, with connectivity between Fujitsu’s data centres and UK-wide co-location facilities.

Omantel is claiming to be the first telecoms operator to commercially launch LTE services in the Sultanate of Oman. At launch, services will be available at more than 50 sites across the country including Sultan Qaboos University Campus, Mawalleh, Al Khaudh, Al Khuwair and Ruwi, in Muscat Governorate as well as Buraimi and Khasab. Dr Amer Awadh Al Rawas, CEO of Omantel, said that these sites were chosen due to their high 3.5G traffic, and foresaw faster speeds for both 3.5G and 4G networks as a result of the launch. He also said that the operator was committed to extending coverage to the majority of Muscat and main cities nationwide in the next expansion period. Deployment of the 4G LTE network was carried out by Ericsson and Huawei.

euNetworks has deployed an 8.8Tbps fibre-based network spanning from London to Dublin and across to the rest of Europe. The deployment meshes together euNetworks' 13 operational fibre-based city networks into a single domain, and allows the company to deliver its service portfolio from Dublin through to London, Frankfurt and the rest of Europe. euNetworks cited the region’s increasing demands for bandwidth as a reason why technology companies have had a continued commitment to investing in data centre and network infrastructure in Dublin over the past 12 months. The deployment utilises a next generation of DWDM in the network, enabling 10G, 40G and 100G capabilities.

Indian operator Aircel is to invest approximately $500 million in rolling out 4G service before the end of the year, according to the Business Standard. Services will reportedly be launched in Chennai between October and December, while expanding the network to other cities in Tamil Nadu circle. On top of wireless broadband for handsets and dongles, Aircel also plans to offer home broadband service and video on demand. Aircel is also working on creating a fibre-optic backbone through both leasing and investment, according to the publication.

China Mobile Hong Kong has selected Ericsson to expand its network capability to include TD LTE, creating a converged FD LTE/TD LTE network. As part of the contract Ericsson will upgrade, expand and perform systems integration on the operator’s Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network. The combined network will be launched as early as the fourth quarter of 2012. China Mobile Hong Kong launched FD LTE services in April this year.

Canada’s Cogeco Cable has entered into an agreement to acquire US cable operator Atlantic Broadband for $1.36 billion. The deal will be financed through a combination of cash, a $550 million draw-down on Cogeco’s revolving credit, and $660 million of debt financing. After the transaction Cogeco Cable will have a customer base of more than 1.1 million across Canada and US. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary conditions, and is expected to close before the end of 2012.