April 25, 2007
At 3GSM World Congress in February, telecoms.com sister publication MCI reported that an unidentified but major Middle Eastern carrier was in the process of pulling fibre to 2,000 cell sites.
At the IMS World Forum in Monte Carlo yesterday, the mystery glass blower was unmasked as Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second carrier, which recently launched an HSDPA-enabled 3G network in the kingdom.
Mobily CTO, Mohammed Basafi, said that the carrier has embarked on the rollout of a national fibre optic backbone and backhaul network that reaches its most trafficked cellsites but will also provide a variety of other services.
Conditional on licences and spectrum availability, Mobily plans to offer metro Ethernet, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), DSL and possibly WiMAX service using the same common fibre backbone. As part of the ambitious plan, Basafi aims to move quickly to a full IMS core network.
Unlike some, however, the role of IMS here will not be to apply differential quality of service (QoS). One of the motivations for all that fibre is apparently to “overprovision enough bandwidth for our customers”, especially heavy video users, Basafi said.
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