Friday Network News: August 31

31 August 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.

Level 3 has announced a connection into a newly refurbished London data centre to enable fast connectivity for small and medium businesses. The development enables London Data Exchange (LDeX) customers the ability to connect to Level 3’s network spanning over 45 countries and 450 cities worldwide. The facility is said to be focused specifically on the SME sector, to provide fibre-based connectivity across the world. Connectivity into London offers enterprises access to critical data according to Level 3, and the point of direct access at LDeX offers customers a platform to build on data centre connectivity across global and European markets.

Wireless broadband vendor Altai Technologies has been selected by a Tier 1 Chinese mobile operator to improve wireless connectivity in the country’s major cities. The contract comes after successful deployments in rural China and is intended to cater to rapidly growing wireless data usage. Altai’s 3G data offload solution will be utilised for the deployment, co-locating Altai Wifi base stations with existing 2G/3G cellular sites to provide a large outdoor Wifi network. The solution has been deployed in several areas of China over the past few years, including Liaoning, Guizhou, Sichuan, Shandong and Fujian.

Deutsche Telekom is set to launch a new LTE speed option for customers, boosting mobile connection speeds up to 100Mbps. From September 4 customers can purchase the service for €9.95, coinciding with the launch of the first LTE capable smartphones. Customers without the speed option will be able to achieve speeds of up to 21.6Mbps. By the end of 2012 Deutsche Telekom plans to link 100 cities to its LTE network. More than 10 million rural customers already have access to LTE services.

Australian carrier Telstra is planning a network investment to more than double its 4G coverage in the Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth areas. The expansion will involve the deployment of more than 1,000 LTE base stations by mid-2013, raising coverage from 40% to 66% of Australians. Telstra will roll out the infrastructure for the upgrade over the next 10 months, beginning in Bondi and the North Shore rail tunnel, Sydney. The carrier also announced that as of today it will begin shutting down its early 3G network, which operates on the 2100MHz band. The service known as 3GIS has been replaced by Telstra’s combined 3G and 4G Next G Network, which operates on the 850MHz band. Customers still using old devices only compatible with the network are advised to seek an upgrade or face slower data speeds.

Hosting provider LeaseWeb has established a 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) connection to Amsterdam internet exchange AMS-IX. The connection replaced 8x10GE lines which made up one of LeaseWeb’s connections to AMS-IX, the second comprising of 6x10GE lines, bringing LeaseWeb’s capacity at the exchange to 160Gbps. LeaseWeb is already said to be planning to replace the second connection with 100GE in 2013. The provider decided to perform the upgrade in anticipation of the busy autumn months ahead, which typically account for half of its traffic growth for the year.

KPN’s Belgian subsidiary has selected Chinese vendor ZTE for the deployment of packet switched core network equipment on its infrastructure. ZTE’s network solution is designed to support evolution from a 2G/3G packet core to an evolved packet core, allowing operators so support unified 2G, 3G and 4G access. The vendor claims that its solution will help KPN deliver service differentiation and further enhance the network’s competitive strength.

US carrier AT&T announced a series on network investments that it performed in the first half of 2012 this week, including $82 million in Maryland, $41 million in Washington, nearly $25 million in Utah and nearly $1.1 billion in Texas. All of the investments included the activation of new cell sites to improve coverage and the addition of spectrum to support traffic, as well as the deployment of new Wifi hotspots and backbone network connections. The significantly larger Texas investment included LTE launches in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Corpus Christi, Bryan-College Station and Waco, 14 new cell sites and expansion of capacity at 124 sites across North Texas. It also included more than 900 carrier additions, 150 Ethernet to cell site migrations and 128 3G expansions in areas including: San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Beaumont, Bryan-College Station, Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley.

Hungary’s Magyar Telekom has announced plans to sell its radio network operation, Pro-M, to state-owned National Infocommunications Service for approximately $88.9 million. Pro-M’s mobile radio network is used mainly by emergency services. Magyar earlier this month missed expectations in its financial results and said that it would raise prices and cut costs. The sale is expected to close by the end of August.

African mobile operators Movicel of Angola and Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) of Namibia have selected Chinese vendor Huawei to provide advanced IP microwave solutions for their LTE backhaul networks. The UMTS/LTE solution provides up to 2Gbps to each operator and allows unified network management for optical transmission and wireless equipment. Movicel and MTC launched LTE services in April and May 2012, respectively.

Hong Kong’s SmarTone has launched commercial LTE services, claiming territory wide coverage. The network for the service, which was rolled out in partnership with Swedish vendor Ericsson, uses 1800MHz frequency, providing superior indoor coverage to the 2600MHz band used by some of SmartTone’s competitors. SmarTone won the 1800MHz spectrum in mid-2009 having been outbid in the 2600MHz auction at the beginning of the year. The service will initially be offered on an invite only basis before being opened to the company’s entire customer base from September 11 2012.

Reliance Globalcom, the wholesale arm of the Reliance Group, has announced it is upgrading its European network with coherent 100G technology. The move has been taken with the view of supporting high bandwidth applications and addressing high-speed data demands in the region. Its network, which connects London, Paris, Marseilles and Frankfurt, will be upgraded to 100G wavelength technology by the end of 2012, deploying Ciena’s optlical platform and WaveLogic processors.

Tikona Digital Networks is reportedly looking to acquire network equipment worth nearly $200 million from LTE vendors as it seeks to roll out a mobile broadband network in five Indian telecoms circles. India’s Economic Times reports that the company, which is 71% owned by investment banks Goldman Sachs, Oak Investment Partners and Everstone Capital Advisors, has recently floated a request for proposals, inviting bids for 4G equipment. It is estimated that Tikona will have to spend approximately $40 million per circle to roll out 4G services. The publication said that Guijarat and Rajasthan were likely to be the launch states for the service.