Germany’s E-Plus Group has reportedly extended its existing exclusive partnership with Swedish vendor Ericsson under which it aims to transform its mobile backhaul to all-IP. With the IP RAN transformation said to be ‘an important cornerstone’ in the German operator’s mobile broadband strategy, Ericsson has also confirmed that under the terms of the agreement between the two companies it will transform the Germany-wide microwave network, which will be migrated to all-IP in the mid-term using MINI-LINK long- and short-haul products.
Commenting on the network development plans, Gerhard Ludtke, Director, Access Network at E-Plus Group, noted: ‘IP Backhaul is an essential part of our mobile broadband programme and was underestimated by many operators as a key enabler of high speed data. Therefore we are glad that we have already reached 90% of our broadband radio sites with full IP transport. E-Plus will continue to strengthen its mobile backhaul network to provide a superior user experience to its subscribers and to position E-Plus as a leading player in the growing LTE market space.’
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in February 2012 Netherlands-based KPN selected Ericsson to upgrade its mobile backhaul for its subsidiaries in both Germany (E-Plus) and Belgium (BASE Company) over a three-year period. Under the terms of the deal, Ericsson agreed to install more than 15,000 MINI-LINK transmission node links in the two countries before the end of 2013, with the upgrade being carried out with a view to ensuring that both units are able to cope with increasing demand from mobile users for data services, while boosting the efficiency of their respective networks. Ericsson also claimed that the mobile backhaul upgrade would also lead to lower costs per bit, as well as allowing for a smooth migration from Time Division Multiplex (TDM) to packet transport, and providing the opportunity to scale microwave up to gigabit capacities step-by-step. Further, the vendor confirmed it would upgrade the two mobile operators’ TDM-based transmission infrastructure to packet-based mobile backhaul networks to pave the way for the introduction of HSPA+ and LTE technology.