Home Industry Deals Ericsson scores NBN Co wireless contract, with $1.1b potential

NBN Co has awarded Ericsson a contract to roll out a TD-LTE network to serve the four percent of premises scheduled for wireless coverage in NBN Co's business plan. The initial contract is for 12 months only but could be worth up to $1.1b over 10 years.

According to Ericsson: "Under the ten-year agreement, Ericsson will provide the LTE network, including radio access, core and transmission as well as related services'¦Ericsson will design, build, operate and maintain NBN Co's network end-to-end, including business support systems.

"This includes service activation, management and assurance as well as network performance and capacity management. Ericsson will also provide a wide range of services such as construction, installation, commissioning and learning services. Network operations will transfer from Ericsson to NBN Co after the initial agreement with Ericsson is completed."

NBN Co said: "NBN Co has initially entered into a turnkey arrangement for at least 12 months to enable a fast start to construction and delivery. Over time NBN Co intends to assume greater responsibility for construction and operation of this world-leading infrastructure."

In most of the country the network will operate in 2.3GHz spectrum recently acquired by NBN Co from Austar. Spectrum for WA and the Northern Territory has yet to be obtained.

Although the technology is identical to that used in TD-LTE mobile networks being rolled out in other countries - and will use the same multiservice RB6000 Ericsson base station as Ericsson is supplying for Telstra's FD-LTE rollout - it will be a fixed service operating to fixed external antennas - flat plates about the size of an A4 sheet of paper - mounted on the outside of customers' premises.

The customer premises equipment, dubbed by NBN Co a Network Terminating Device (NTD), will be custom developed by Ericsson to NBN Co specifications. It will have four gigabit ethernet ports, but unlike the NTU for the fibre network it will not have an analogue telephone port.

In FTTH areas NBN Co is taking over responsibility for the Universal Service Obligation and will provide the standard telephone service over fibre, but in wireless and satellite areas the USO remains with Telstra and will continue to be delivered on Telstra copper, or other technology supplied by Telstra.

At the signing of the contract at NBN Co's Sydney office this morning the head of Ericsson ANZ, Sam Saba, said that work would start "this afternoon." The first services are scheduled to be available from the middle of next year, and the entire network to be competed by 2015.

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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