DTAC, Thailand’s second largest mobile operator, has chosen Alcatel-Lucent’s ‘Agile Optical Networking’ solution to upgrade its existing 3G network and support the rollout of a 4G LTE network that will eventually deliver ‘ultra-broadband’ mobile access to more than 40% of the Thai population. Deployment of the 100Gbps fibre-optic network is already under way in Bangkok, with expansion to other parts of Thailand to continue throughout 2014, the vendor said in a release.
DTAC is deploying Alcatel-Lucent’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) converged Wave Division Multiplexing/Optical Transport Network (WDM/OTN) platform, alongside Alcatel-Lucent’s ‘intelligent generalized multiprotocol label switching (GMPLS) Control Plane’ which is designed to ensure automated network operation and a high level of service protection for reliability. Included in the 1830 PSS system is ‘Wavelength Tracker’ technology which provides an integrated view of all wavelengths across DTAC’s network making it easier to monitor performance and identify problem areas. Sebastien Laurent, MD for Alcatel-Lucent in Thailand, said: ‘Our 100G technology, which is proven in the global market, is allowing DTAC to greatly expand the capacity of its network and improve customer experience while decreasing its total cost of ownership. At the same time, we are supplying DTAC with a platform that is flexible enough to expand capacity further to 400G speeds down the road.’
Simultaneously, Thai newspaper The Nation reported that DTAC has conducted tests of 4G LTE services on its 2100MHz network in Bangkok, currently used for commercial 3G services. It had been reported at the start of this month by technology vendor Ericsson that DTAC had ‘launched’ 2100MHz LTE services, but it now appears that commercial operations will take a few more weeks to be switched on, sometime in this quarter. The paper says that LTE tests were conducted in inner Bangkok areas including Rama IV, Phya Thai, Sutthisan and Ratchadaphisek roads, and the 4G service will eventually cover ‘all areas’ of the city after ensuring network performance meets international standards. The tests included data download and upload speed, voice call quality, and a seamless handover between the 4G LTE and ‘DTAC TriNet’ 3G networks. DTAC’s CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah recently said the cellco will deploy 300 LTE base stations using the 2100MHz band this year, mainly in Bangkok, while waiting for licensing of technology-neutral 1800MHz licences later this year before committing to a wider 4G rollout.