May 18 2012
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Surge in broadband use drives upgrade of Saudi telecom sector
Friday, May 18, 2012
Telecom operators in the Saudi Arabia are busy readying their networks for ‘Triple Play’ to provide Voice, Data and Video, without compromising on quality in order to meet new customer demands and competition.
Most of the renowned ones have already succeeded in having a full-fledged network. But on other hand new licensed operators are doing their best to reach out to customers with bundled packages to compete with existing service providers, while existing telecom operators are hastily trying to reach out to the maximum number of subscribers within the shortest possible time. Most of the fixed telecom operators are talking about Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) or Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (GEPON) technologies to cater to the increasing demand for broadband. But in the region GPON is the technology widely accepted and followed.
Manzoor Ali, Managing Director KSA at Cabling Solutions Provider Reichle and De-Massari MEA says that for these systems the network performance not only depends on active equipments, but it is equally important to have quality passive components from central office to the customer end. Here come the challenges, as Passive Optical Network technology doesn’t have the same amount of history as traditional copper network. Now technologies demand for fiber on the access network side also, which could be FTTB (Fiber to the Building) or FTTH (Fiber to the Home). The design may look simple, easy components comparing to ADSL or VDSL network as there is no active element in between the connectivity from central office. The challenge here is to have high quality passive components and precision in the specification in order to have a reliable telecom network. This network is going to handle voice, video and data, through with one can operate IPTV, video on demand etc. Upstream and downstream both are important and hence the physical layer should be of a very good quality.
A look at the telecom sector in the Saudi Arabia region reveals that the main factor for the rapid growth of the industry is the entry of new telecom operators into the market as a result of privatization policy. The situation of this region is totally different from those in the European markets. Telecom Privatization policy is shaking up the industry and putting pressure on incumbent telecom operators who were previously enjoying a monopoly. Very few of them were meeting the growing demands of customers. The existing operators continue to utilize and build upon their existing copper based networks while the new licensed operators are keen on rapid deployment to speed up their time to market. In both scenarios, success depends on the expertise of the vendors who can deliver the systems and solutions that meet each operator’s requirements. So most passive networks need to be tailor-made with the delivery of systems occurring within strictly defined time frames. Traditionally the problem with tailor-made solutions has been the bottle neck in deployment due to the time taken for custom development, fabrication and further deployment and field testing.
For operators migrating from legacy copper solutions to fiber based cabling, existing infrastructure must be integrated into feeder, drop and access areas, or hybrid cabling must be used in a transitional phase before FTTx has finally become firmly established. This requires the flexibility of combining copper and fiber optic cable on existing platforms.
Finally, building entry point and residential connections often require customer-specific modifications and aesthetic solutions. Meeting such demands increases customer acceptance and translates to greater connection volumes. Customers could be home, businesses, enterprises, IT developers, corporate or government organizations. The behavior and demand for each one of them varies depending on their priorities. But one common factor for all of them is that they will always look for a reliable network with good quality of service. As a result, it is important that when telecom operators invest for the long term, they need to make sure that the network is capable of handling customer’s requirements for more than 15 years. As customer demands drive operators to upgrade their networks, those who deliver the best quality of service even during upgrades and enhancements are the ones who will see long term success.
By Mahmood Rafique - www.twentyfoursevennews.com
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