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APBW 3G CDMA Network, Taiwan




Key Data


Asia Pacific Broadband and Wireless Communications Inc (APBW) became the first operator of a 3G network in Taiwan when its network was completed late in 2003 (services started early 2004). APBW is a part of the China Rebar Group of companies (an affiliate of Eastern Broadband Telecom) and is the newest competitor in the Taiwanese mobile high-speed telecommunications market.

APBW was founded in November 2001 and was awarded a 16-year CDMA2000 (code division multiple access) licence in February 2002 (licence E, frequency bands: 2 x 20MHz (upper range 825MHz to 845MHz and lower range 870MHz to 890MHz) for which they paid $302 million. Each of the licensees, including APBW, was required to build a network by mid-2006 and to install 250 base stations prior to commencing service to customers. APBW achieved this and now has a subscriber base of 830,000.

HOW TO INCREASE SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS

The company launched its Wonder4 discount plan in February 2006 in order to increase its subscriber base to 1.25 million. Wonder4 offers the same charge rates for intra- and inter-network mobile voice communications within one of four regions in Taiwan selected by a subscriber, similar to the My Zone offered by Taiwan Mobile earlier in 2006.

In order to increase the number of 3G subscribers from 830,000 at the end of January 2006 to its new goal of 1.25 million, APBW has budgeted NT$2.8 billion (US$88 million) to subsidise the purchase of 600,000–700,000 3G handsets for new subscribers and another NT$4.8 billion (US$150 million) to expand its 3G CDMA2000 1X infrastructure from 1,600 base stations to 2,400–2,600 at the end of 2006. The new equipment is to be supplied by ZTE of China and also Huawei Technologies.

HOW THE NETWORK WAS IMPLEMENTED

Because APBW was a newcomer to the Taiwan mobile telecoms market, it needed to establish itself quickly with an efficient and cost effective network. This was one of the most important criteria when it engaged Nortel Networks to build the system. APBW had to be the first on the market with a more advanced system than its competitors and follow up with an aggressive marketing campaign to establish a market share in the new high-speed data market. The estimated investment to construct the network was $276 million.

CDMA2000 1X AND 1x EV-DO DIGITAL WIRELESS VOICE AND DATA NETWORK

Nortel Networks was selected by APBW to build Taiwan’s first CDMA2000 1X and 1x EV-DO digital wireless voice and data network, using Nortel Networks Univity Wireless Data Network. The APBW system included circuit core, packet core and access network technologies. The equipment provided included: CDMA Metro Cell radio base stations, CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Radio Access Network Controller and Element Management System (providing operator interface function), Univity CDMA Packet Data Service Node, Nortel Networks Passport 8600 Gigabit Ethernet Routing Switch and Passport 7000 Multiservice Switch, and all related infrastructure.

The base station controller (BSC) (Access Network Controller [ANC]) was the Univity BSCe3, which supports a traffic capacity of 3,000 Erlangs. The BSCe3 is a modular system that may be expanded by the addition of more traffic management units in the event of additional capacity being required to transfer packet data to the Data Core Network (DCN). The BSCe3 is able to offer efficient radio source management and call quality by the adoption of the Adaptive Multi Rate codec (AMR) and also Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) if required.

Bovis Lend Lease was the contractor that performed the turnkey implementation and construction of infrastructure required by the network installation contract.

The Nortel Networks Univity system supports both CDMA2000 1X and 1x EV-DO service standards from the same base station. This allows APBW to offer multimedia services such as web browsing, fast and secure corporate intranet access, email with large attachments, ‘mobile desktop’ capability, video and audio streaming and interactive gaming at peak data rates of up to 2.4Mbps (more likely to be 400kbps to 500kbps on average).

Chung-ming An, CEO of APBW, said on completion of the network in July 2003: “Our objective is to firmly establish APBW as a mobile, high-speed data leader in Taiwan’s 3G market… We believe that CDMA2000 1x EV-DO will enable us to deliver leading wireless data services and applications that Taiwan mobile users demand…”

ENHANCEMENTS TO CDMA2000 1x EV-DO SYSTEM

APBW (Mobile Internet Division) is enhancing the services it can offer to both domestic and business customers by installing Wireless Intelligent Network (WIN) capability. The system is to be put in place by CommVerge Solutions. The project has involved the CommVerge Taiwan team deploying a Mobile Virtual Private Network (MVPN) and prepaid services using the uAngel IN application WIN platform Mobile Data Application. uAngel is a leading company in the field of core network development and wireless internet systems.

Hewlett Packard was also able to contribute to the new Taiwanese 3G system by the provision of the HP mobile service delivery platform. This web-based system allows APBV customers to use their mobile phones to access a portal and view and download useful information and manage their account. The portal is integrated with 15 back-end systems to automatically provide new services seamlessly to customers.

APBW’s portal was required as they needed an integrated system to interact with customers that could be quickly implemented. They did not have an established system, as did other competitors in the Taiwanese market, so it was completely new. The web portal allows APBW to establish their brand, sell new mobile services, increase revenue through use of online payment collection and present an image to the customer that they can easily maintain. The customer can access news, entertainment (games, ring tones, video, audio etc.), pay for or order mobile or high-speed data services online, update personal information or even talk to customer services or the technical help departments via a ‘chat room’ arrangement.

CDMA DIAGNOSTIC TESTS, SIMULATIONS AND TROUBLESHOOTING

Tektronik Inc provided its NetTek Field Tool for use in commissioning and enabling the new 3G network for APBW. The NetTek Field Tool provided a full range of CDMA diagnostic tests, simulations and troubleshooting applications (e.g., 1x EV-DO for Base Transceiver Station (BTS) troubleshooting). The NetTek instrument’s modular architecture was configured specifically for APBW to test for BTS power measurement, interference analysis and antenna/transmission line testing.

BILLING SOFTWARE SYSTEM

Intec Telecom Systems was contracted to supply its settlement solution InterconnecT in mid 2003. The new system was installed alongside Intec’s Inter-mediatE convergent mediation solution, which APBW also purchased in 2003 as part of their control system for the network. InterconnecT was able to meet the complex 3G requirements of APBW by offering support for interconnect bill settlement with other telecommunications operators for voice, data, content and other services as well as pre-paid and post-paid business models.

BINARY RUNTIME ENVIRONMENT FOR WIRELESS (BREW)

APBW upgraded its mobile multimedia services, previously known as Qma (quality multimedia access), from a Java platform to a BREW platform in March 2006 and renamed the services Qma+ (this was launched in early April 2006). Qma’s mobile multimedia services included access to the internet, games, animation, e-mail and instant messenger, as well as downloading of ring tones and screen graphics. The Qma+ platform has additional value-added services but focuses on games and the download of ring tones and graphics (because that is what subscribers demand).

APBW plans to introduce BREW-based content from the Chinese operator China United Telecommunications first and then cooperate with more than 40 overseas operators of BREW platforms, including Verizon Wireless in the US, KDDI in Japan, KTF in South Korea, Hutchison CAT in Thailand and Telstra in Australia. APBW will offer three BREW handset models: its own-brand C200Q (which can also be used for Qma), the A88Q, custom-made by JiangSu GaoTong Technology Industry in China, and the C800, made by the China-based Haier. Other handset suppliers will include Motorola, Nokia, Alcatel, TorQ and China-based Bird and ZTE.

BREW was developed by Qualcomm for downloading small applications and content to mobile phones. The platform is found almost exclusively in CDMA phones. The primary component allows users to download and run small software applications on their handsets. These applications could include games, expense tracking software, or satellite navigation tools. This component of BREW competes with the J2ME platform, a Java technology from Sun Microsystems. BREW and Java are generally not compatible.