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Tunisie Telecom charts all optical progress with Huawei

Tunisie Telecom (TT), the largest operator in Tunisia’s growing telecoms market, is embarking on an ambitious all-optical network transformation program with longstanding strategy partner Huawei.

Ken Wieland

December 11, 2023

Tunisie Telecom (TT), the largest operator in Tunisia’s growing telecoms market, is embarking on an ambitious all-optical network transformation program with longstanding strategy partner Huawei.

TT, as a No.1 service provider, is transforming to provide a high-quality home broadband experience

“ADSL technology is no longer meeting user high-speed requirements” asserts Oussama Samet, TT’s Chief Network Officer.

Samet, speaking to Telecoms.com at the recent Huawei Global Ultra-Broadband Forum held in Dubai, reported that TT held a 50% share in the county’s fixed broadband market, serving more than 1.3 million households with a mixture of xDSL and FTTH products. The days of copper-based broadband access in TT’s network are numbered, however.

“The maturity of optical fiber technology, and the high cost of copper, means that an all-optical network has lower investment, faster deployment and lower maintenance costs,” Samet added. “All-optical networks are the innovative direction of home broadband network evolution.”

Aside from rising traffic volumes and greater demand for high-quality connectivity, other drivers for TT’s all-optical transformation are increased use of cloud services, industry vertical digitalization and cloudification. The operator also wants to be prepared for the impact of 5G-Advanced on underlying networks.

By using existing civil works, TT is looking to extract as much cost‑efficiencies as possible in terms of FTTH rollout, service delivery and O&M. “This strategy has helped us double the number of homes passed with fiber by the end of 2023 and we’re on track to reach 500,000 households by 2025,” said Samet. “This will improve the average bandwidth to 30Mbit/s, and maybe up to 50Mbit/s, by the end of 2025 and greatly enhance the customer experience.”

TT had been planning all-optical transformation for several years, making sure in particular there is buy-in from employees. An all-optical training academy, explained Samet, has been set up to train staff in both technical and commercial aspects of optical networks. Employees at TT headquarters and in the regions can all take advantage of the training academy.

Huawei support

Li Yungao, Huawei's National Broadband Chief Expert of Northern Africa region, fully endorses TT’s direction of network travel. Speaking alongside Samet at Huawei’s Win-Win Live studio at UBBF 2023, he highlighted benefits for both end-users and society.    

“All-optical transformation enables users to dive headfirst into this new information-driven lifestyle,” said Li. “Moreover, all-optical transformation can boost TT's digital transformation, thereby promoting the country's digital transformation.”

Li emphasized, too, the importance of employee “talent cultivation” when operators are embarking on all-optical transformation, drawing on his experiences in China to underline how critical this part of the journey is.

“I used to work at China Telecom, where I led the implementation of China's first all‑optical province project, which involved establishing 20 million ports and developing 10 million home users,” recalled Li. “This experience highlighted the importance of encouraging more employees and partners to learn, understand, and participate in all-optical transformation.”

Huawei, said Li, is using its resources and commitment to support TT’s all-optical training program with a dedicated team to cultivate in-house talent. “[The team] assists with [TT’s] operation and management of market strategies and marketing channels,” explained Li, “and helps introduce digital applications for homes, enabling rapid growth in the company's user base and revenue.”

IPv6 migration

Days prior to Global UBBF 2023, TT announced it was the first operator in Tunisia to start migrating to the IPv6 protocol. A crucial step, noted Samet, in not only TT’s digital transformation journey, but also in promoting a more digital society.

“As we all know, given exponential growth of Internet terminals and new digital applications, only IPv6 can provide the huge address space to open up a new world of innovation and possibilities,” remarked Samet.

He stressed that IPv6 was more than just a technological update. “This is an important shift in the future of the ICT industry,” he said, “and will help us bring greater flexibility, performance, and security, as well as protection of users’ data, and increase citizen, business and investor confidence in the digital economy.”

About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

Ken Wieland is editor of WiMAX-Vision

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