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NGN migration will hit target, claims Batelco

Infrastructure upgrade in order to expand services offering

BAHRAIN telecommunications provider Batelco’s migration to a next generation network (NGN) is on target and may even finish ahead of schedule, the firm said this month.

The operator is moving to a new network to support and expand its service offering to customers. The new network will enable Batelco to offer broadband services such as high speed internet to its customers. It will also automate the service provision of voice data and other broadband services as well as being capable of supporting advanced services such as IPTV and video telephony.

The network replaces the previous legacy networks, which are based on TDM and ATM technologies with a common IP (MPLS) based network.

Chinese firm Huawei is supplying the core and access network for the project.

“It will be one network, one type of technology for all services. Before we had different technologies for different services. Data is separate, voice is separate, now voice and data and video will be all in one,” Batelco senior manager of network strategy, Habib Rabea, told IT Weekly.

The project for the new network started mid-2005 and is slated to finish in the third quarter of 2009. However, because of its success so far, the company is evaluating the possibility of finishing migration of PSTN class 5 traffic, the most challenging part of the project, by the first quarter of 2008.

One of the main challenges of the project is migrating customer services seamlessly to the new network, Rabea explained. Some 180,000 customers need to be migrated in total, he said, of which 4,000 have already been migrated in a pilot project while the rest are being moved in small batches.

Security is another issue, Rabea said, particularly as the services will now be reliant on one system. “Before if one network fails the other services are still running but now all services are on one core it is a big challenge for us and we have to make sure it is secure in the design of it. That has already been done and we are now trying to implement it,” he said.

Batelco networks and technology general manager Ebrahim Zainal said that the project was a “critical milestone” in the modernisation of the operator’s network.

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