Optus picks Nokia Siemens for core


The nation’s number two telco, Optus, today revealed it had selected Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to be its sole packet core vendor, in a multi-million dollar contract that will allow it to face its growing bandwidth needs.

Optus said in a statement this morning that its data traffic would increase significantly in the near future, due to the growing popularity of smartphones among Australian consumers. Nokia Siemens Networks Australia and New Zealand chief Kalevi Kostiainen said Nokia’s Evolved Packet Core would support the mobile growth and the launch of new services.

“Moreover, our platform is [Long Term Evolution] ready and adds enormous capacity to data transport channels, allowing Optus’ Open Network to be flexible in responding to the market demands related to high capacity, using a robust platform,” he said. LTE is a standard which Australia’s mobile telcos are planning to implement in their networks over the next few years, which will deliver higher speeds and capacity.

In mid 2010, Optus and NSN trialled the LTE mobile technology together; an experiment which was declared successful by both parties and which had the potential to tighten the commercial relationship between the two. At that time, Optus products and delivery managing director Andrew Buay said the telco would continue to build on the investment in its network.

A year later, the deal signed with NSN will involve the deployment of the company’s Evolved Packet Core which – according to NSN – can accommodate GPRS, WCDMA and LTE network traffic; this solution will be coupled with the adoption of the Flexi NG GGSN platform and the “Charge@once” Mediate solution, which NSN claimed would give Optus the opportunity to launch new services without major changes at its billing system.

Optus Networks managing director Günther Ottendorfer said smartphones were forcing the telco to upgrade its infrastructure. “Over the last couple of years, we have seen an explosion in mobile broadband and a rise in smartphones as customers consume information on the go,” he said. Indeed, to face the mobile market’s continued growth, last week Optus launched its first femtocell solutions, which aims at solving mobile phone coverage problems, acting as a small 3G mobile station inside customers’ premises.

“This new agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks on using its Mobile Packet Core solution will give Optus the flexibility to provide more bandwidth to our customers as required, especially as online applications and mobile working has become the norm,” Ottendorfer said.

With this multimillion dollar deal, NSN appears to be taking ground again in the network market, after rival telco Vodafone Hutchinson Australia chose Chinese vendor Huawei for the upgrade of its whole network, shunning offers from competitors.