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gfast map nov

Dark Green: Firm commitments from incumbent: BT (10M), Belgacom, Australian NBN, Swisscom,  Austria, Bezeq Israel, Chunghwa Taiwan, Telus Canada, Telekom South Africa, SK Korea, (U.S.) AT&T, Century, Frontier, Windstream, Belgium, Omantel

Mid Pink: Smaller carriers in Germany, Norway, Finland, Japan

Light Green: Incumbent likely:  France, Germany, Italy

PLDT capex cut 230"The telecommunications duopoly is about to end,” President Duterte promises. expecting the competition to improve services and lower prices. He invited the Chinese to be the third player in the Phillippines in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Incumbent PLDT is responding by connecting 100 buildings and 35b Super-vectoring and some other places. PLDT is buying the gear from Huawei. ZTE had little chance at the order after the $100M bribery a few years back.   

Foreign-owned PLDT has a near monopoly on the Philippine Internet (85%) and minimal regulation. As you can see in the chart at left, their capex has been going down despite a dismal Philippine Internet. Filipinos have the slowest Internet in Asia, as you can see in the chart below from Akamai.

In 2016, Dutarte warned the two, "If they don’t improve their services, I’ll bring in competitors from China." The Chinese have to decide whether China Mobile or China Telecom gets the franchise.

PLDT claims they have, "FTTH coverage to about four million homes." (Below) As far as I can tell, most of that is not what the rest of the world calls FTTH but rather hybrid fiber/DSL lines. 

The three Chinese carriers have connected 272M homes directly to fiber, far more than the entire rest of the world. Most of them were reached within four years. Prices are much lower than in the Philippines. Speeds are higher and going up very rapidly. (The Chinese speeds in the chart at left from Akamai probably reflect limitations of Akamai's international connections rather than any deficiencies of the Chinese.)Asia speeds Akamai Q1 2017

China Telecom is expanding internationally, including putting $6B on the table for bankrupt Oi Brazil. China Telecom has fiber to "essentially all of Shanghai and many other cities." Working with the Russian Railways, they have fiber across the "Belt and Road" and on through Europe. 

China Mobile has major investments in Thailand and Pakistan. China Mobile Research is one of the world's best, especially in 5G. They have 1.5M base stations, by far the most in the world, serving close to a billion customers.  

Both are seriously profitable, have substantial financial reserves, and have built some of the world's largest networks extremely rapidly. Without a doubt, either could build throughout the Philippines in a very short time. Think Gig LTE to 85-95% of the country in 18 months, with Massive MIMO in the densest areas.

Anyone unaware of the human rights issues in the Phillippines may want to look here.

Here's the pr. First, from PLDT with some data. Then from Huawei, reporting sales of 

PLDT Consumer Group ramps up network investments for best quality consumer data experience
PLDT Home embarks on P11-B modernization plan; Smart blankets PH with LTE, WiFi connectivity

Manila, Philippines (October 25, 2017) – Leading telecoms and digital services provider PLDT is further boosting investments in its fixed and wireless networks to provide consumers with the best data experience that supports their increasingly digital lifestyle.

“Our vision is to make high-speed internet connectivity the standard of every Filipino whether they are at home or on the go. With reliable and fast connectivity, PLDT is fully committed to revolutionize the way Filipinos experience and enjoy world-class digital services and content on their various screens – the television, personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones,” said PLDT and Smart EVP and Chief Revenue Officer Eric R. Alberto.

PLDT Home is spending P11 billion in the next two years to provide its subscribers with Fibr-fast internet with the roll-out of over one million ports nationwide that will upgrade over 1.3 million subscribers.

“We are leveling up their broadband experience with the migration of our DSL customers to Fibr-fast connectivity. This will fortify the foundation of the SmartHome for the digitally savvy Filipino family,” said PLDT FVP and Head of Home Business Marco Borlongan.

“With our network modernization program, we are bringing the power of Fibr to every Filipino home so that our subscribers can better enjoy their digital lifestyle through access to world-class Internet. This year, we’ve been rolling out fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network nationwide and we’ve also teamed up with world-renowned content platforms and providers to ensure that our subscribers get the best possible home entertainment experience,” he stressed.

PLDT is expected to expand its FTTH coverage to about four million homes passed by the end of 2017. It is also deploying hybrid fiber technologies to allow existing customers to enjoy fiber-like speeds.

Meanwhile, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications has already finished its LTE rollout in the country’s top urban hubs Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, in the island resort of Boracay, and in Rizal province. It is currently underway in Metro Manila.

"By end-2018, over 90% of the country’s population will have Smart LTE coverage,” PLDT and Smart FVP and Head of Consumer Business for Market Development Oscar A. Reyes, Jr. said. “We are complementing this LTE rollout with our deployment of ultra-fast Smart Wifi, which registers over 100Mbps download and upload speed, and is now available at key airports, other transport hubs, popular food parks, bars and restaurants as part of our SMART Spots Program all over the country.”

Among the airports with super speed Smart Wifi are the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Davao City’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport, Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental, Bacolod-Silay International Airport and Iloilo International Airport, Roxas Airport, Zamboanga Airport, Clark International Airport, Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport, Laoag International Airport, General Santos International Airport, Kalibo International Airport and Puerto Princesa Airport.

Smart Wifi is also present in the sea ports of Batangas City and Calapan in Mindoro, major bus terminals and thoroughfares, as well as other public areas across the country, including popular entertainment venues and food parks which are turned into Smart Spots.

“This comprehensive network modernization and expansion program is at the core of the PLDT group’s digital pivot,” Reyes pointed out.

Smart’s network rollout took a big bulk of PLDT’s ramped-up capital expenditure program of P42.8 billion for 2016, which included the utilization of the new frequencies freed up with the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation’s telco assets.

Earlier this month, Smart announced that it was upgrading its cell sites and doubling its LTE capacity in Marikina and Quezon City as part of its network expansion and modernization program. The upgrade is expected to improve Smart’s mobile data service, particularly LTE and 3G, and provide superior network capacity to customers who live and work in the two cities. Through LTE device and SIM swap programs, Smart is assisting its customers to shift to LTE devices and upgrade to LTE SIMs so that they can fully enjoy the improved network.

The latest regional results collated by wireless coverage research firm OpenSignal also showed that Smart continues to lead in terms of LTE speeds across all regions in the country where it has LTE.

PLDT has invested around P300 billion or nearly US$6 billion over the last decade to roll out the country’s most extensive fixed and wireless network infrastructure which now has 150,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables designed to support the Filipinos’ growing use of fixed and mobile data.

Huawei helps PLDT upgrade copper networks and moves towards a digital society beyond 100 Mbps

Huawei Technologies

Sponsored content

[Manila, Philippines, November 17, 2017] Huawei announced that it will cooperate with PLDT, a leading operator in the Philippines, to use existing copper line resources for deploying SuperVector and networks, which provide bandwidth of up to 300 Mbps and 800 Mbps respectively. By using Huawei's solutions, PLDT will be able to economically and efficiently build ultra-broadband (UBB) networks.

PLDT is a leading telecommunications and digital services company and owns more than 70% fixed broadband market shares in the Philippines. With the development of social media software, 4K video, and virtual reality (VR), PLDT plans to release new digital services including Pay TV and Smart Home Security, posing higher requirements on network capabilities. To step up to the requirements, PLDT is preparing to provide 5 million users with bandwidth of at least 100 Mbps and offer 800 Mbps premium broadband services in over 100 high-value buildings by 2018 to bring Philippines towards a digital society beyond 100 Mbps.

To help PLDT achieve its goals, Huawei, a long-time partner of PLDT, has collaborated with PLDT to comprehensively evaluate network-wide copper lines as PLDT owns an abundance of copper line resources. Huawei's evaluation report intuitively shows basic line information about network-wide ports and accurately predicts the attainable bandwidth after broadband acceleration at original sites or after site migration, visualizing bandwidth potential of copper lines for PLDT.

Considering PLDT's strategic goals for broadband development, Huawei also provides E2E solutions based on segmented scenarios, greatly improving user experience. For small enterprises and VIP home users, Huawei offers the industry's largest-capacity solution, in which a single device can provide bandwidth of up to 800 Mbps for 96 users concurrently. For high-end home users, Huawei deploys SuperVector devices that deliver up to 300 Mbps bandwidth. These devices are compatible with current DSL terminals, enabling smooth upgrade without users being aware of it. For common home users, Huawei deploys vectoring devices in original cross-connecting boxes or fiber to the curb (FTTC) sites, greatly shortening project delivery while offering users up to 100 Mbps bandwidth.

Czar Lopez, PLDT's Assistant Vice President for access network planning and engineering, said, "Huawei's evaluation on network-wide copper lines help us identify bottlenecks that hinder copper broadband acceleration. In addition, we jointly set up pilot projects regarding cutting-edge copper line technologies— and SuperVector. These projects have strengthened our confidence towards copper broadband acceleration and fast delivery."

Gao Kexin, Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Philippines, stated, "PLDT used Huawei's UBB copper solution to upgrade their networks, rapidly enhancing their network capabilities and improving user experience. This sufficiently proves that reusing current copper lines is an economical and efficient way to deploy UBB networks."

Huawei, a world-leading UBB operator in the Gigaband era, has rolled out commercial deployment of SuperVector and series products in many counties, including the UK, Switzerland, and Italy. Huawei also showcased NG-fast prototypes at Broadband World Forum 2016. Huawei will continue to cooperate with global top operators to build a future-oriented UBB network architecture, bringing a better connected experience to users.

The Site for gfast 230 News

I’m still working through remarkable presentations from the Broadband Forum events. Michael Weissman, Bernd Hesse and team did a remarkable job choosing the speakers.

Deutsche Telecom: 35b Supervectoring Delayed to 2019
Broadcom is now over 3 years late. DT briefed German reporters after their financial call and revealed 35b was now delayed until 2019. 35b should deliver 200+ meg downloads 500-600 meters, a crucial tool for DT, which is losing share to cable. Cable now covers about 70% of Germany and is expanding. DT now only offers 50-100 megabit DSL while cable is often 400 megabits, going to a gigabit. 

The problem is software; the hardware is shipping and supposedly will work. DT says 35b is not ready to turn on. Broadcom in 2015 said 35b was in "production" in the press release below. Alcatel in early 2016 said to expect complete systems very soon. "35g is very similar to 17a so there should be little delay."

Broadcom's problems are leading major telcos and vendors to have a plan B, using Sckipio DT itself is planning extensive deployments in 2019, mostly in apartment buildings.

Gigabit 100 Meters - Unless the Wires are Lousy
Speeds are fine, "Unless there's a line problem." I've been reporting for three years that ~10% of lines have problems. In the chart by Rami Verbin of Sckipio, he finds goes ~130 meters on good lines. Poor lines have about half the reach. 

His chart roughly matches the reports from Swisscom, Belgacom, and England for both & vectored DSL. The 10% with problems can cause the majority of the line-related complaints to support. The angry customers drive up cost.

Rami's solution to reach the gigabit is bonding, supported on the Sckipio chips. Verbin made some additional points:

  • 4 gigabits is possible by bonding two decent 2 gigabit lines.
  • Even in a service from remote cabinets, ~25% are close enough to get a full gigabit."
  • cDTA and iDTA are practical ways to deliver much higher upstream by switching some bandwidth from downstream to upstream only when needed.
  • 35B will probably be similar but Deutsche Telecom doesn't expect to deploy until 2019.

AT&T Wants Coax 2-5 Gigabit Very Soon.
AT&T faces intense competition from cable, talking about 10 gigabits in both directions. (Cable will only be 1 gig down, ~100 meg up, until ~2021.) AT&T wants something to brag about as well.

AT&T gained millions of lines of coax as part of the DirecTV deal. Alcatel and Huawei are leading the development of G.mgfast. That uses 424 MHz, full duplex, to achieve ~2.5 gigabits in both directions. The reach on telco twisted pair is only about 30 meters. On coax, those speeds can probably extend far enough to service most apartment buildings. Using 848 MHz, speeds can reach 5 gigabits. The ITU standards group has been aiming for 2019-2020 for G.mgfast, too slow for AT&T's marketers. David Titus wants a high-speed standard for coax "early in 2018." He believes that is "doable."

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