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Colt Unveils NGN Vendors

Nokia Siemens and Sonus get the call from pan-European operator as it brings years of trials and tests to a close

July 14, 2008

3 Min Read
Colt Unveils NGN Vendors

Pan-European operator Colt Technology Services Group Ltd has unveiled its next-generation network (NGN) vendor selection, with Nokia Networks and Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) the two main beneficiaries. (See COLT Moves to NGN.)

The identity of Colt's main vendor partners will not come as a major surprise: Light Reading already reported that Sonus was in line for a piece of the action, and that Atrica, the Ethernet equipment vendor acquired by Nokia Siemens late last year, was in contention to provide the required MPLS-based, multiservice provisioning platform. (See Sonus Nears NGN Role at Colt and Nokia Siemens to Acquire Atrica.)

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) was also being seriously considered by Colt as a supplier of carrier Ethernet gear, but appears to have missed out on this project -- at least for now.

Colt, which has hooked up more than 15,000 business premises to its 20,000-kilometer fiber network in 34 European cities to provide a range of voice and data services, including Ethernet and various legacy data applications, has been planning its NGN for several years and has undertaken extensive technical testing and service trials. The operator's CTO, Alireza Mahmoodshahi, told the delegates at Light Reading's Ethernet Expo: Europe event in London this year that the deployment of carrier Ethernet technology was needed to meet enterprise customers' needs for bandwidth-on-demand services.

Colt's move to deploy new network infrastructure is part of its "Next Generation Solutions'" strategy, which will see the company evolve from multiple, service-specific networks to a single, virtualized system comprising its physical network infrastructure and 18 data centers. That move, believes Colt, will enable it to place a greater emphasis on the delivery of services such as unified communication and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The operator will also use its new platform for the delivery of "next-generation managed services," such as grid computing.

The European operator, which generated revenues of €411 million (US$652 milllion) during the first quarter of this year, aims to provide its enterprise customers with a single, 16-port access box, housed on the customer's premises, that can connect to Colt's centralized services provisioning systems at speeds of between 2 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s. (See Colt Reports Q1.)

Colt is deploying Nokia Siemens' carrier Ethernet-based multiservice technology in London, Paris, and Frankfurt initially to support Ethernet, IP VPN, and IP access services, and plans to roll out the platform across Europe during the next 12 months. The vendor is supplying a range of Atrica systems, including the A-8100 and A-4100 metro aggregation switches, the A-2140 Optical Ethernet Edge Switch, and the Atrica Service Platform for Ethernet Networks (ASPEN) management system.

Sonus is supplying the operator with multiple products, including its GSX9000 softswitch and Network Border Switch (session border controller), for deployment in six cities -- London, Frankfurt, and Paris initially, followed by Madrid, Milan, and Zurich.

Colt notes that the Sonus technology will enable interworking with the operator's existing TDM voice services, and, by being compliant with IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) specifications, will allow Colt to deploy new voice services from multiple third-party applications developers and software vendors.

Financial terms of the vendor deals have not been released.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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