Nokia bags 30% of China Mobile 100G optical network initiative

Nokia has been awarded a 30% share of China Mobile’s project to construct a 100G optical network to support the development of the world’s largest 4G network.

The project supports the overarching ‘Broadband China’ strategy, the country’s efforts to meet rising mobile data demands in the cloud era. Part of the initiative launched by the Chinese State Council in May, has seen the state to invest $182 billion into new technologies to boost internet performance for consumers and businesses by 2017. The new deal with China Mobile will see Nokia deploy a 100G Optical Transport Network (OTN) and Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) backbone based on the recently announced 1830 PSS-24X packet optical transport system.

“This is a crucial win with our longstanding partner. With our innovative 100G OTN solution, we are able to help China Mobile meet the higher requirements for large-scale 4G construction,” said Mike Wang, who leads the joint management team of Nokia Networks China and Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell. “We are committed to delivering the latest optical transmission innovations to enable China Mobile to optimize their networks and open up new opportunities for their subscribers.”

The Chinese government aims to have 80 million households and 10,000 villages provided with fibre services this year, and 14,000 villages will be covered by basic broadband. For wireless, the aim is for 1.3 million 4G network base stations to be built to support 300 million 4G subscribers. The states objective is to provide all households in locations above prefecture level with access to 100 Mbps fibre-optic networks, over 80% of villages by fibre-optic networks, all cities and villages covered by 4G networks, and broadband speeds in municipalities and provincial capitals to reach 30 Mbps.

As part of the initiative, the government has also committed to pushing operators into lowering the fees charged for internet access and will aim to bring down the average fees charged for mobile data and fixed broadband. It would appear China is fully prepared to throw its weight around in negotiations and has little concern for the profit margins of the multi-national tech giants.

The China Mobile network has the potential to be the largest worldwide with a subscriber base of over 300 million expected. The team hope the deployment will help China Mobile add optical capacity to meet rising mobile data demands in the cloud era and of the expanding 4G customer base. From Nokia’s perspective, the cornerstone of the project will be a four port 100G DWDM line card for the Nokia 1830 PSS-24X, which will leverage the company’s low-power 100G-optimized digital signal processor, in support of keeping Chinese infrastructure in-line with the demands of its increasingly tech-savvy population.

China has one of the fastest growing technology sectors, a fact which may not surprise many in the industry, though growth in the country has slowed in recent months, along with the rest of the world. The percentage of China which is online has been growing steadily year-on-year, roughly accounting for just over 50% now, with the government continuing to press ahead to increase this number. It would appear one of the drivers behind the substantial investment made by the Chinese government into ‘Broadband China’ is the fear infrastructure in the country will fall too far behind others worldwide, stating:

“There is still a huge gap between China’s network speed and international standards as well as the expectations of the Chinese people. There are also issues such as high network fees and unbalanced development in rural and urban areas — and limited quality of services”

While Nokia and China Mobile have been working together since 1994, the win represents a healthy move for Nokia in a country which has traditionally favoured domestic vendors. Nokia has been one of the more successful international brands in the lucrative Chinese market, though this deal could act as a springboard to influence in the significant ‘Broadband China’ initiative.

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