mmO2 yesterday set out its mobile broadband strategy with the deployment of Europe's first super-fast, third-generation (3G) mobile data network at Isle of Man which also was mmO2's UMTS test-bed before.
The 3G network will incorporate HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) technology and IMS (Internet Protocol Multimedia services) and positions mmO2 at the forefront of providing advanced mobile data services to customers within Europe. It will go live in the Summer, next year, at mmO2's subsidiary, Manx Telecom on the Isle of Man.
Consumers and businesses will be able to experience for the first time next-generation services on the move at speeds equivalent to those enjoyed by fixed broadband networks. They will be able to quickly and easily download DVD-quality film clips, audio and video, interactive multiplayer games, multimedia music tracks, 'push-to-watch' services as well as access large email attachments - 3 times faster than today's commercial 3G networks.
Based on advanced technology from Lucent Technologies, the futuristic network builds on mmO2's previous successful live trials of early 3G on the Isle of Man. It also complements existing work in this area mmO2 has conducted with its two principal networking partners - Nortel Networks and Nokia Corporation.
Two weeks ago, mmO2 joined forces with Nortel Networks to conduct a live high-speed internet call powered by HSDPA in preparation to incorporating the technology within the 3G networks of mmO2's mobile businesses in the UK, Germany and Ireland, which have all been designed from the outset around this functionality. This program will begin from mid 2005 and draw on the key learnings of the HSDPA-enabled network on the Isle of Man.
Dave Williams, group chief technology officer of mmO2, said: "We have market-leading experience in the deployment of mobile data services and 3G technology. We established the first fully-operational 3G European network on the Isle of Man at the end of 2001, were the first network to launch GPRS and have more SMS usage on our network than anyone else.
"Now, with the first deployment in Europe of HSDPA and IMS together in a converged commercial network, coupled with our mobile TV trial in Oxford and the recent launch of the O2 Connection Manager, we will gain invaluable insights into how to extend our multimedia services in order to enhance people's lives and develop applications that they are willing to pay for."
The Lucent built HSDPA-enabled network will initially offer data speeds of 3.6 Megabits per second (Mbps) - limited only by the capability of current-generation handsets - but will ultimately support data speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps. At launch customer will be able to send a 5Mbyte video clip in under 30 seconds.
Lucent's IMS, a converged Internet Protocol-based core network solution, will enable mmO2's Manx Telecom to provide its customers with a wide array of compelling, multimedia services using their mobile device or fixed broadband connections. Additionally, Manx Telecom's business customers will be able to provide their employees with high-speed mobile access to the same business applications they typically use while in the office.
"Manx Telecom's vision is to provide services that enrich people's lives whatever they're doing and wherever they are, and this project will play a strategic role as we continually assess how to enhance our mobile offerings for our customers," said Chris Hall, managing director of Manx Telecom. "This network will serve as a showcase of the tremendous benefits fixed-mobile multimedia networks have to offer."
David Poticny, president, Lucent Technologies Europe, commented: "Lucent is very excited to partner with mmO2 on this unique, ground-breaking project that will help eliminate the barriers between voice and data services, and between fixed and wireless environments.
"Lucent's next-generation networking solutions are designed to support the seamless delivery of blended services that enhance, and complement people's lifestyles, providing them with the convenience of anywhere, anytime access to all of their communications services."
Under the agreement, Lucent will provide mmO2 with Bell Labs-developed wireless and data networking equipment, as well as network management and applications software. Among the products to be supplied are Lucent's Flexent OneBTS base stations (Node Bs) -- which support HSDPA -- Flexent Radio Network Controller (RNC), as well as UMTS packet core solutions including Lucent's Flexent Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), and Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN). Lucent also will ensure the supply of HSDPA-capable devices to Manx Telecom, through collaborations with a variety of mobile device manufacturers.
Lucent also will supply key elements of its IMS solution, including a 3G Mobile Switching Centre based on the Lucent Network Controller (softswitch technology) and Lucent Media Gateways, as well as Lucent's Super-Distributed Home Location Register, a subscriber database server that manages customer information for voice and data services across wireline and wireless networks. Lucent Worldwide Services will provide engineering, installation, integration, optimization and program management services for the project.
Cheers ~ Arne