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DCC/Astelit, Ukraine

Key Data

The Ukrainian mobile network operator Digital Cellular Communication of Ukraine (DCC)/Astelit signed a deal with Nokia in July 2004 to build and operate a new Global System for Mobile Communications / Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution / General Packet Radio Service (GSM / EDGE / GPRS) radio network. It is to be based on Nokia's successful second generation GSM solutions system, which can later be seamlessly upgraded to the next generation 3G Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) technology to offer faster data transfer and more advanced services, such as location-based services, television streaming, "push to talk" and a variety of more advanced multimedia services. Currently the services allowed by EDGE will be sufficient to build a strong customer base in the Ukraine.

The DCC/Astelit consortium is majority owned by Turkcell and the deal represents a new customer for Nokia. The project, which started in July 2004, is scheduled for completion in 2006. Jaakko Myllymaki, Vice President of Nokia Networks, said of the arrangement "…There is a large untapped market to be addressed in this country, one of the fastest growing markets in the region…" The project is estimated to cost €125 million.


The contractor for the project is Nokia, who will be responsible for turnkey implementation of the network, including network planning and design, site acquisition for base station and mast construction, civil engineering works, project management and engineering / procurement / supply of hardware.

In addition, Nokia are to provide an operations start-up package for the network over the first six months following completion of the construction. This is to support DCC/Astelit in developing its operation from the point of view of data services and billing systems, where Nokia have much experience. Nokia Care Services are also to provide software maintenance, emergency support, hardware services and training.


The Nokia Base Station Subsystem (BSS) consists of Base Transceiver Station (BTS), Base Station Controllers (BSC), transcoder submultiplexers and cellular transmission to connect the mobile subscriber's handset to the Mobile Switching Centre (MSC) in the GSM core network. The BTS has radio receivers that define the cell in an area of network coverage. The BSC controls handover and frequency hopping and is connected to the MSC. The BSS will also control mobility management of the cellular network in addition to connecting to the packet-switched subsystem, which enables data services over GSM / GPRS systems. Each BSS can transmit / receive in six different frequency ranges, effectively stopping interference between cells and allowing reuse of frequencies in other cells.

The Nokia Network Switching Solution (NSS) will be installed at the MSC to provide the mobile core network, since it is compact, has a high capacity and can offer basic mobile services (voice, messaging) and a wide range of supplementary services. The Nokia NSS is fully compliant with 3GPP Rel 4 standardisation and incorporates a new MSC server system that can separate the gateway and the control plane and so increase efficiency. Movement of a subscriber between cells has been known to cause extended 'handover or handoff' times, which is a particular problem for data transfer. The Nokia NSS MSC system monitors the strength of the incoming signal and when the signal power drops below a certain level the call will be transferred to a cell where the signal is stronger. This handover time has been reduced to a manageable level and now presents no problem for data transfer.

The system is to be enhanced by the installation of EDGE capability. This is a 3G radio technology standardised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and 3GPP which can enhance the capacity of each hardware and frequency channel of an evolved GSM / GPRS system. EDGE transceivers carry more data per time slot, decreasing the need for new transceiver frequencies. This system enhancement allows much faster data transfer rates (typically four times faster - 400kbps) and allows the provision of more advanced services over GSM bands, such as video streaming and large data transfers. The major change in the GSM standard to support higher data rates is the new modulation system, known as Phase Shift Keying (8PSK). This will not replace, but will exist side-by-side the existing Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK) modulation. With 8PSK it is possible to provide higher data rates with a reduced coverage, whereas GMSK will be used as a robust mode for wide area coverage.


In order to provide optimal network capacity DCC/Astelit are adopting the Nokia Operations Support System (OSS), which Nokia will operate along with training courses for new staff over the first six months of operation. The Nokia NetAct system gives a single centralised management system, more rapid services, a reduction in maintenance and site visits due to automated tools, open architecture and interfaces, seamless information exchange with other systems and optimised network resources.