China's telecoms equipment industry gets more innovative each day. But there are still areas where western technology triumphs. How else do we explain the decision of three Chinese telcos to award separate contracts to Ericsson for fixed broadband access?
The three telcos, China Mobile China Unicom and China Telecom, are upgrading their networks in Anhui, Guangdong, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Liaoning, Shandong, Shanghai and Sichuan provinces to carry services such as quality voice, high-speed broadband and high-definition IPTV.
Ericsson will roll out fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks for all three operators, using its gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology. The orders also include services such as network design and optimisation, support services and consultancy.
A decade ago, many western carriers were reluctant to commit to ambitious FTTH projects because of the high costs and the difficulties in judging the likely demand for broadband services such as video-on-demand.
China's carriers clearly have no such hesitations and broadband FTTH could be another area in which China rapidly creeps up on the more developed economies of west and Asia.
Mats H Olsson, president of Ericsson Greater China, said:
It is exciting to see all three Chinese telecom operators deploying fiber networks across the country to deliver data-thirsty, high-quality services. These initial roll-outs in China, as well as the endorsements from around the world, have demonstrated yet again that cost-effective optical fiber solutions are becoming the leading technology for fixed deployment.”
No price has been put on the three contracts.