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Manx Telecom HSDPA Network, Isle of Man

Key Data

Manx Telecom, a subsidiary of mmO2, has a reputation for the introduction of state-of-the-art technology as soon as it becomes available. They were one of the first companies in the world to launch a 3G UMTS service (December 2001), had the first GSM network in the UK, and were among the first companies to introduce an ADSL system and full ISDN.

mmO2 uses the island as a test-bed for new technology, such that a favourable telecoms licence was granted to Manx Telecom in order to develop the island as a leading centre for offshore e-commerce.

The 3G network installed in 2001 was taken down in mid-2004 with little explanation, and Manx Telecom announced that new 3G services were to be introduced at the same time as the rest of the UK. However, the island has been used as a test network again for a new standard which can be up to ten times as fast as current 3G technology - HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access).

Manx Telecom has earned a reputation for being at the leading edge of telecommunications. The company has invested more than £50m over the last five years in the Island's telecommunications infrastructure and is committed to a further £30m investment over the next three years until 2009.


Manx Telecom and mmO2 announced in December 2004 the introduction of a new faster mobile data network on the Isle of Man. The network, which was the first of its kind in Europe, used HSDPA technology and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem). The new mobile data network has been available since mid-2005. As an extension to the initial agreement on HSDPA in July 2006, Lucent Technology continued the evolution of the Manx Telecom network.

The HSDPA 3.5G service allows data transfer speeds equivalent to or greater than those attainable by fixed broadband networks. Subscribers (testers) are able to download DVD-quality film clips, audio and video, interactive multiplayer games, multimedia music tracks, and ‘push-to-watch’ services as well as access large email attachments at speeds of up to 3.6Mbps - up to ten times faster than currently available commercial 3G networks (more likely sustainable data transfer rates will be three times faster than current 3G speed, i.e. just over 1Mbps).

Although HSDPA technology can theoretically support data transfer rates of up to 14.4Mbps, the initial limitation was the speed of the first mobile devices used on the network.


The Isle of Man system is based on advanced technology from Lucent Technologies. The network uses Lucent's HSDPA software technology as well as their IMS solution, which enables Manx Telecom to provide both wireless and wireline customers with 'blended' mobile high-speed data, multimedia and VoIP services.

Lucent's IMS is a converged IP-based core network solution, which is part of their Accelerate Next-Generation Communications Solutions portfolio. Lucent provided mmO2 with wireless and data networking equipment developed at Bell Labs, as well as network management and applications software. Products supplied included the Flexent One BTS base stations (Node Bs), Flexent Radio Network Controller (RNC), Flexent Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN), and Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN).

In addition, the company also supplied key elements of tits IMS solution, including a 3G mobile switching centre based on the soft switch technology of the network controller and network gateways, as well as its super-distributed home location register, a subscriber database server that manages customer information for voice and data services across wireline and wireless networks.


Under the new July 2006 agreement Lucent is supplying additional elements of the IMS solution to support advanced multimedia services. Lucent will also increase the capacity of Manx Telecom's wireless network and upgrade the carrier’s broadband wireline network with the Lucent Multimedia Access Platform (MMAP), an all-IP solution that enables service providers to deliver high-bandwidth video/IPTV, VoIP and multimedia services to the mass market.

In addition, Lucent Worldwide Services is to provide network installation, design, integration and migration services as well as its suite of VitalSuite network management products. These include: VitalSuite Integrated Service Assurance software, VitalSuite Service Activation Management software and VitalSuite IP Address Management software.

As part of the new 2006 project Lucent is to replace Manx Telecom's existing broadband and GSM core network infrastructures while augmenting the 3G UMTS network. Lucent will also supply Manx with Lucent Ethernet Routers (a recent acquisition from Riverstone Networks) to support the high reliability and scalability necessary to deliver the user Quality of Experience (QoE) for the new IP-based blended services.

The new contract incorporates several products from Lucent's IMS portfolio, including the Lucent Session Manager, Lucent Feature Server, Lucent Communication Manager, Lucent Compact Switch, Lucent Network Gateway and Lucent Network Controller. Lucent also will supply key elements of its Multimedia Networking Solutions portfolio. Among these are the Lucent Multimedia Access Platform, Lucent Ethernet Routers and Juniper Networks M-series Multi-service Edge Routers and E-series Broadband Services Routers.


Lucent Worldwide Services is continuing to provide engineering, installation, integration, optimisation and program management services for the 2006 project. Lucent has also made arrangements for a supply of state-of-the-art HSDPA ready devices to be provided to Manx Telecom from a variety of mobile device manufacturers including PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) wireless data cards and HSDPA compatible handsets.


The new evolution of 3G in the Isle of Man to 3.5G underlines the island's excellent business services. A spokesperson for the Manx government (e-business initiative) commented: "This will be a full commercial network. It will remove the latency and bandwidth issues you get with standard 3G networks."

Manx Telecom's world-class offering to e-business includes the Isle of Man’s only purpose built data-centre, an off-Island Multi Label Protocol Switching (MPLS) network, and high quality managed network and security solutions. The services provided by Manx Telecom are backed up by highly resilient 'self-healing' fibre and microwave links between the Isle of Man and the UK and Ireland.