Telenor to Unveil All IP Plan

A senior network strategy executive from European incumbent carrier Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) says his company is to migrate to an all IP network in 2010, and will reveal to an audience of high-ranking industry executives how his company's strategy differs from that of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which plans to turn off its PSTN in the same year (see BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers).

Sten Nordell, Telenor's VP of networks and platform strategy, is one of four keynote speakers at Light Reading's upcoming The Future of Telecom – Europe 2005 event in London on September 7 and 8, while one of the other lead presenters is Mick Reeve, group technology officer at BT.

Nordell will tell the audience about the decisions Telenor has made as part of its move to an all-IP infrastructure, with particular emphasis on how the carrier's extensive mobile and broadcast services have influenced the operator's technology decisions.

"Convergence will have an impact on the architecture of our network," says Nordell. "We are a mobile operator and a broadcaster," as well as being a fixed-line service provider, "and we have had to consider all these aspects."

Nordell, who was previously CTO at Swedish Ethernet services pioneer Utfors AB, says Telenor is doing things differently than BT, though the ultimate goal is the same (see Telenor Buys Rest of Utfors and Sweden's Utfors Picks Nortel's 10G Ethernet).

"We're taking a different approach to BT, but that's largely historical. BT couldn't do what we're doing, and we wouldn't do what they're doing. We'll be deploying a different access architecture and take a different approach to the way we connect the access and edge networks," with a greater reliance on an Ethernet-based infrastructure.

He also says Telenor is piecing together its supply chain differently. So far, the carrier has named Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) as its sole provider of core and edge IP routers -- "it suits us to have just one supplier at the moment, though this isn't an exclusive relationship" -- and Transmode Systems AB for edge and access CWDM systems (see Telenor Picks Siemens, Juniper and Transmode Wins Tier 1 Carrier Contract).

"We're sourcing our suppliers piece by piece, which is different to the way BT announced all its major suppliers at once. So, while Transmode is our edge and access transport system provider, our tender for the long-haul transport equipment is out to bid at the moment."

And he notes that, while Telenor is happy to source its IP routers from one supplier at present, "you can't do that with access equipment. We will have multiple suppliers" for the ADSL2+, SHDSL, and VDSL2 equipment, as no one company is at the forefront of all developments in the Ethernet access market.

So how much is the Norwegian carrier spending on its migration? Nordell says that's another difference between Telenor and BT, which reckons its 21st century network (21CN) plans will cost £10 billion (US$18 billion). "BT has been open about its numbers, but we don't talk publicly about our costs."

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Want to get an update on the latest technologies fueling European telecom and meet with its pioneers? Check out Light Reading's The Future of Telecom – Europe 2005, to be held at the Olympia Conference Centre in London on September 7 and 8, 2005.

Hosted by Light Reading founders Peter Heywood and Stephen Saunders, The Future of Telecom – Europe 2005 is a new style of conference and exhibition covering the eight hottest technology topics in telecom.

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digits 12/5/2012 | 3:03:51 AM
re: Telenor to Unveil All IP Plan Will carriers such as BT and Telenor gain an advantage by moving earlier to an all IP environment? Or do the disadvantages, such as unforseen operational and interoperability issues, outweigh any gains, even for carriers with major wholesale business?

This is the -ú10 billion question...
stephencooke 12/5/2012 | 3:03:49 AM
re: Telenor to Unveil All IP Plan Ray,

If you take a look at the networks of most large cariers they are full of all sorts of gear from all sorts of equipment providers from all sorts of technology eras. The technologies that are there were chosen for a certain product offering which was thought to be very important at the time. The OPEX required to run all of these desparate technologies can be quite high.

This is really the first time that carriers have had the option of rolling most of their network onto a common platform. ATM was envisioned as the common platform several years ago but has not lived up to its billing for a host of reasons.

If one looks at the industry as a whole we are seeing CAPEX starting to happen again. In the US they are going after the access portion of the network. This is mainly due to the huge competition from cable companies. Basically they need big bandwidth, NOW. To address this they are aggressively upgrading their last mile.

Europe has traditionally lagged North America in communications technology adoption. The big carriers in Europe have been paying attention to what is happening in the US & Canada in regards to cable-based competition. BT seems to have been the first to recognize the threat and have taken a proactive approach to getting their network in order. The point is that BT will soon have to upgrade their access networks as the RBOCs have been. They just have a bit more time to make it happen and choose the right technology mix to keep costs under control and be able to offer next generation services more quickly. The point is that they had to rip out all the wierd equipment anyway, they just needed to have an alternative platform that made sense in the bigger picture.

So, yes, BT has the advantage in that a technology approach has come along in time for them to get their core network ready for the upcoming access upgrades. BT has the luxury to be able to get this done in the absence of multiple well-funded, entrenched technological competitors. They have also realized that this will not always be the case. IMO the RBOCs would also have preferred to travel the path that BT is following but were forced to speed up their access plans.

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