ANALYSIS: MegaFon DREAMs big with terrestrial project

09 March 2016 |


Russian carrier MegaFon has revealed to Capacity that it has made a series of major enhancements to its Diverse Route for European and Asian Markets (DREAM) project.

DREAM was launched in 2013 and connects Europe and China with a 8,700km terrestrial route. Since its launch, MegaFon has expanded the route from the Kazakhstan-China border to Hong Kong. The expansion was made in partnership with China Telecom, and MegaFon has also established a node in Hong Kong.  

“This enabled us to provide the client with a channel from Frankfurt through to Hong Kong,” said Alexander Teremetsky, carrier relations director at MegaFon.

The Russian carrier has added diversity to the northern segment of the route by connecting it to the Baltic Highway cable. Launched in January, the 3000km route connects Tallinn in Estonia with Frankfurt in Germany via Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Warsaw (Poland) and Berlin (Germany). 

“This way we were able to provide a premium-class service, which includes full geographical back-up,” added Teremetsky. It also added further diversity at the Kazakhstan-Russian border where it connected the DREAM project to its backbone. Through MegaFon’s backbone, the project can also connect onto its South-West Asia Network (SWAN), which links Russia to the Caucasus region and Turkey. Launched in Q1 2015 with an initial capacity of 100Gbps, SWAN is the result of a partnership between MegaFon and Georgian fixed-line operator Silknet. 

The move will provide Russia with greater access to the rapidly expanding Georgian telecoms market, which has experienced a 25% increase in broadband penetration between 2006 and 2014. It claims to reduce the round trip delay between the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and Frankfurt, Germany, by 7-10 milliseconds compared to existing routes.

The developments have helped reduce latency on the route: “Initially, the Frankfurt-Hong Kong ping was meant to be 175 milliseconds and we managed to reduce it to 10 milliseconds. We also added the option to implement small channels ranging from 100Mbps to 2.5Gbps,” he said. 

With a number of subsea cable projects linking Europe to Asia due to become operational in the coming years, DREAM is aiming to offer an alternative to the market: “We are counting on terrestrial routes, and DREAM in particular, preserving their market niche as they offer a reliable solution with a more attractive round-trip delay. We are especially confident about this because global Internet traffic is steadily growing at 30-40% per year, and this means that demand for capacity will remain high,” said Teremetsky.

Other partners of the DREAM project include Kazakhtelecom, Deutsche Telekom, China Unicom and Interoute, which is providing technical support in Europe. 

“Apart from sales to telecoms operators DREAM ensures MegaFon’s connectivity with European data exchange platforms, which is important in the B2C segment. Russian content providers also use this capacity to connect to the major international nodes. We work either directly with international corporate clients who want small channels from 100Mbps to 2Gbps, or via our partner in Europe, Interoute,” said Teremetsky.  

“We plan to widen the DREAM project further – to create a route that will connect Europe with Mongolia.”