Telstra's plans to spend $10 billion on building a next generation converged IP network within five years should be a boon for the channel and wider IT industry. But a telecommunications analyst has warned of frustrating times ahead as Telstra attempts to stop anybody else playing with its new toy.
The telco last week unveiled three technology partners that would help implement the overhaul. Its IP core network would be upgraded in conjunction with Cisco, which will install its carrier routing system (CRS-1) to deliver increased capacity and performance that will enable Telstra to deliver a range of IP-based services to residential and business customers.
Alcatel is the biggest winner so far, snaring a $3.5 billion slice of the pie to help transform its IP network for fixed broadband services. This will include providing network design and integration, product supply, deployment, maintenance and on-going support in relation to broadband access and Ethernet aggregation as well as fixed next generation voice and network integration.
Ericsson will provide a broad range of services including design, construction, support and maintenance services, and equipment for its 3G core and radio access network infrastructure as part of Telstra's third generation city-to-country mobile network.
Market analysts at IDC have welcomed the network announcement but pointed out that most incumbent telcos in Europe and North America had already started migrating to an NGN platform. With Spain's Telefonica and France Telecom already commercialising NGN-based services, IDC said Telstra was now three years behind its peers.
Independent telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, said Telstra's overall strategy was sound, if a little late, but described the five-year timeframe it had set as incredibly ambitious.