Zain meeting Jordan's capacity needs

Zain is building a fibre-optic network to meet current and future demand for capacity. The fibre-optic network, installed across much of Jordan, is set to strengthen the country's position as the most liberalised and competitive market in the Arab world.

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By  Administrator Published  August 28, 2008

Zain is building a fibre-optic network to meet current and future demand for capacity. The fibre-optic network, installed across much of Jordan, is set to strengthen the country's position as the most liberalised and competitive market in the Arab world.

In an age where vast amounts of data are transferred across a myriad of bandwidth intensive applications, capacity is vital. Data usage is growing at an exponential rate and it is up to the operators to deliver a network with enough capacity to spare for the coming years.

In many places in the Middle East and Africa, local operators may lack the capital or know-how to invest in a next generation network. Network congestion, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, is already a problem, with many players looking to expand capacity to sustain their customer acquisition and reduce complaints and churn.

This year will witness a remarkable development in Zain’s Network in a way that would contribute to enhancing the telecommunications industry in the Kingdom.” Kais Qusous

It also opens the doors to new value-added services.

In Jordan, Zain is currently finalising a fibre-optic network to upgrade the connectivity of its various nodes, transforming Zain's Transport Network infrastructure into the new Next Generation Networks (NGN).

The operator has invested over US$17 million in the project so far this year, which will cover all dense and commercial areas within the Greater Amman Municipality, as well as the desert highway, all the way to Aqaba.

There are also plans to expand the network to other areas across the country.

"This year will witness a remarkable development in Zain's Network in a way that would contribute to enhancing the Telecommunications industry in the Kingdom," says Kais Qusous, senior manager, strategic and core networks, Zain.

"This will be achieved through the deployment of the fibre-optic network which will pave the road to introduce the latest transport technologies and advanced broadband services," he added.

"Of course, North Jordan will be on our agenda and eventually East Jordan. In Amman-Area there will be continuous activities to enlarge our Fibre Network to reach our sites and any potential customer."

NGN will offer flexibility in the management of high capacities and data throughputs in voice, data and internet traffic. Zain selected Huawei Technologies, the Chinese solutions vendor, as its partner in the project.

Local and regional businesses will also be able to benefit from the network, which offers voice, data and internet services at high speeds. Huawei's technology enables Zain to make a smooth transition to new technologies such as WiMAX, 3G and IP-MPLS, if or when it chooses to.

"The fibre-optic network is a basic requirement for NGN, which is meant to offer a solid platform service for legacy technologies but also support all future trends (TDM-IP evolution), applications and the anticipated exponential growth in traffic because of the increasing demand and dependency on broadband services," Qusous says.

In addition, Zain's investment will enable the company to expand its international services, by creating a direct connection with regional countries and important international locations. A range of wholesale services will also address the needs of local and regional telecom and non-telecom parties.

Between 2003-2007, Zain has invested around JD181 million (US$225 million) to develop the network, while maintaining high standards in performance and quality. Presently, the operator owns over 1,430 sites covering 99.9% of populated areas in Jordan.

To service other industrial or agricultural areas, Zain has installed a number of special solutions with repeaters and gap-fillers to ensure ubiquitous mobile coverage.

"The network consists of two parts: the Greater-Amman-Area and the Amman-Aqaba fibre," Qusous explains. "Amman-Aqaba is up and ready to carry commercial traffic while Greater-Amman-Area is under the very final stages.

This project is meant to replace the microwave network and should allow Zain to carry a tremendous volume of traffic and open horizons to offer new services for its own subscriber base and other interested parties within Jordan and our region who are seeking national and international connectivity services, be it for voice or data," he adds.

Zain has also ensured that the customer experience is consistently high. "NGN should allow for the handling of different types of traffic, and customers are supported with the best quality control mechanism, thus services will not suffer from any degradation," Qusous says. "The service availability will be increased in a way that the end user will not suffer from any outages at very attractive commercial offerings."

According to Qusous, the network will give Zain new business opportunities and benefit individuals and enterprises alike. "Consumers will experience enhancement on existing services, for example quality, service availability, stability and speed. Also depending on such advanced infrastructure, new horizons will be opened to service providers to introduce new services which could not be offered previously due to limited bandwidth and capacities."

Specifically, Qusous is referring to video services, which are made possible by the NGN and should provide Zain with the platform for a significant new way to generate revenue.

For Jordan, which already boasts an advanced and highly competitive telecoms market, NGN is set to improve Zain's offering, delivering modern telecoms services and the room for further growth.

"Having such advanced infrastructure covering Jordan will introduce a new era of telecom services. It also provides the required flexibility and capacities to respond to the expected growth in telecom services - especially the boom of the broadband services. On the other hand, it also provides one network capable in carrying all kinds of legacy and new trends of traffic," Qusous says.

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