Ericsson wins VHA backhaul deal


Ericsson has won a contract worth an undisclosed amount to build a nationwide transmission network for mobile telco VHA, involving the construction of thousands of upgraded microwave radio and optic fibre links around the country.

The deal may come as some consolation to the Swedish network equipment manufacturer after it was beaten to another large contract in early May to manage VHA’s network as a whole – that deal was picked up by rival Nokia Siemens Networks. Ericsson has long been a key supplier to Hutchison – which now forms a key part of VHA after its merger with Vodafone Australia.

“The contract comprises the supply, rollout and integration of Ericsson optical and microwave transmission equipment,” a joint statement issued by the pair said this morning.

“An important part of the contract is the provision of Ericsson’s services, including design, installation and integration, field support and project management. Ericsson also has responsibility for the integration of the new transmission elements with existing equipment including products from other vendors.”

Ericsson’s MHL 3000 DWDM platform, OMS (optical multi-service) 1400 series of optical transport products and MINI-LINK TN (transport node) microwave solution will be used, according to the

VHA chief technology officer Andy Reeves said the telco was also taking the chance to migrate all of its mobile backhaul to the internet protocol, noting it would allow the telco to greatly increase its network capacity and end-user speeds, “at a fraction of the cost of older backhaul technologies”.

Other local telcos such as Telstra have also been migrating their internal networks to IP technology over the past few years.

The deal comes as VHA’s rivals have also been gradually upgrading the backhaul connections which serve their mobile towers located around the nation. Telstra has publicly stated that it is bulking up the number of towers that have fibre connecting them back to base, and Optus faced questions about the matter last week at a press event.

The construction of the National Broadband Network is also seen as an opportunity to boost the capacity of the links as mobile telcos continue to see sharp rises in the amount of mobile data being consumed – not only through mobile broadband use on PCs and laptops but also through smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and the incoming wave of handsets based on Google’s Android platform.

Image credit: Adam Jakubiak, royalty free