Gibtelecom recently announced the signing of an agreement with Ericsson for the deployment of an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution, a technology ecosystem for delivering next generation multimedia converged services over fixed and mobile networks. This deployment will facilitate providing customers with a variety of new and improved services and features.
Jansen Reyes, Gibtelecom Director of Technology said “this capital investment of nearly €4million by Gibtelecom in a Gibraltar-first frontline IMS solution provided by Ericsson will allow the Company to eventually introduce a variety of new and exciting services. This includes Voice over LTE, or VoLTE for short. At the moment, Gibtelecom’s 4G+ LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile network, capable of delivering bandwidth speeds in excess of 300Mbps, focuses on data sessions, with voice calls reverting back to the Company’s legacy 2G or 3G networks. VoLTE will change all that Customers will soon find that calls are made over our 4G+ network, whilst keeping their high bandwidth mobile data connections alive at the same time.
In addition, the calls will be in high-definition (HD) quality and with instant call set-up times. This means that as soon as you press the “call” button, the phone would start ringing at the other end. The introduction of VoLTE will also allow Gibtelecom to rationalise their use of their existing 3G network so that parts of these can start to be scaled back.” Mr Reyes added that “looking ahead, IMS will also lay the ground for full telephony convergence giving, as an example, customers the ability to use one single telephone number for their fixed and mobile services. IMS would also facilitate the introduction at a later stage of 5G mobile services in Gibraltar”.
In a once-in-a-generation event, the introduction of the IMS platform will also see the replacement of Gibtelecom’s legacy System X fixed line switch. Housed at City Hall, System X has served Gibraltar’s fixed line communications for the better part of three decades. Mr Clive Freyone, Gibtelecom Senior Engineer, Voice Services commented that “I was involved with the deployment and commissioning of the Company’s System X switch during the late 1980’s and early 90’s. The switch has served Gibraltar tremendously well since then. However, technology has evolved and moved on to the extent that a much greater set of features and services can now be provided with equipment taking up a much smaller footprint, whilst at the same time allowing for much quicker deployment times and greater flexibility.”
Gibtelecom and Ericsson have had a long standing relationship which commenced in 1994, when GIBTEL introduced mobile telecommunications to Gibraltar. Gibtelecom and Ericsson have since worked in partnership to ensure that Gibraltar’s mobile telecommunications market continues to develop, introducing GPRS (2.5G) in 2002, 3G in 2007 and 4G+ in 2016.
Gibtelecom’s CEO, Tim Bristow, who signed the contract,told B2B, “Gibtelecom once again demonstrates its industry leadership and foresight by continuing its commitment to providing the latest technologies in Gibraltar. This transformational project to replace the Company’s System X fixed line switch with an IMS system provided by industry-leaders, Ericsson, can only serve to better the communication services provided by the Company. He added that “other aspects of this project would include the ability to provide even more robust resilience on the Gibtelecom voice networks, as the various IMS technology components will be duplicated in various locations across Gibraltar”.
Joining the signing ceremony, Jose Antonio Lopez, President of Ericsson Iberia and Morocco, said “Ericsson are once again thrilled to partner with Gibtelecom as the leading provider of telecommunications services on the Rock. Our relationship goes back over twenty years and in that time Gibtelecom have continually shown that it is on a par with other multinational operators in providing the local community with the latest in fixed and mobile technologies. The deployment of Ericsson’s IMS solution will allow Gibtelecom to evolve their networks and services towards an all-IP communications network, potentially bringing opportunities for efficiency and agility. Ericsson is delighted to have been chosen by Gibtelecom to be a part of that journey”.