Digital Mobile Philippines (Sun Cellular), Philippines
Digital Mobile Philippines Inc (DMPI) is one of the largest mobile networks operating in the Philippine islands and the surrounding area (the company is the national telecommunications service provider).
The mobile/cellular telecoms division of the company operates as Sun Cellular (first launched in March 2003) and has more than 1,300 operating cell sites serving 1.8 million subscribers. Although the company is not large in subscriber numbers compared to other competing Asian mobile companies, they still want to increase their capacity and coverage so that they can accommodate additional subscribers.
In May 2005 Sun Cellular announced a plan for major network expansion in 2006 which would require an investment of over $200 million. By making this investment the company hopes to boost subscriber numbers to more than three million by mid-2006 and over six million by the end of 2006.
The company’s growing confidence comes from the successful launch of its 24/7 Call and Text Unlimited (CTU) service in October 2004, which allows post-paid and pre-paid subscribers to make local Sun-to-Sun calls and text messages at a low fixed rate.
The new investment will see three companies providing equipment and services to Sun Cellular for the expansion. Hua Wei Technologies of China are to provide network improvements by upgrading the existing GSM network in the region of the national capital Manilla. This will hopefully enable the network to cope with the much-increased demands of the 24/7 CTU service.
Ericsson of Sweden are to provide network equipment including the installation of a base station sub-system for the Mindanao and Visayas areas to increase network capacity the suburban areas of Metro Davao, Metro Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro. Alcatel of France has also been offered a major contract for €18 million ($22.5 million) to expand the network capacity of the GSM/GPRS system in Metro Manila and the islands of Cebu and Luzon.
Alcatel accepted the €18 million ($22.5 million) contract in early September 2005 and are working on the expansion project which is scheduled for completion by late October 2005. This is the first phase of the major expansion.
Alcatel are to supply, install and commission their Evolium GSM/GPRS and EDGE ready solution that includes mobile switching and IN solutions. The Evolium system was chosen by Sun Cellular because it is based upon more open standards and the software can be upgraded (the performance of the Alcatel Packet Core makes it one of the best on the market). This means the system can be easily upgraded to meet further network expansion requirements as the company’s future growth requirements dictate. The system will also allow easy migration to a next generation network, while still keeping operating costs low.
Sun Cellular and Alcatel already have an existing relationship as Alcatel first built the companies GSM/GPRS 1,800MHz network in a turnkey project lasting from 2001 to 2004.
The Evolium equipment supplied and installed for Sun Cellular will include the Evolium 1000 Mobile Switching Centre (MSC) for GSM/GPRS which delivers high bit rates and high capacity and is also ready for next generation migration. In addition the equipment supply will include the Evolium 1000 Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), which will perform mobile and IP packet management for GPRS mobiles and is fully interoperable with other vendor environments and can support 2G, 3G and combined 2G and 3G traffic.
The base stations for the expansion will be the Evolium 9100 Multistandard Base Station (MBS) that offers increased flexibility in deployment, more effective performance and coverage and a smaller more unobtrusive design allowing the unit to be installed in a greater number of locations while not being so obvious. Alcatel will also supply a moderate number of handsets to Sun Cellular for sale to subscribers.