Telcos issue new TIP for making networks simpler

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Telcos have united to simplify network and product infrastructure in a bid to improve connectivity in previously unconnected areas.

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) comprises a range of telcos including Facebook, Nokia, Intel, Deutsche Telekom, EE, Globe and SK Telecom.

Nokia said it wants to promote transparency and open architecture in the project. TIP's aims are to help operators get higher performance from simpler and more automated networks.

The Finnish vendor is planning to publish an open specification for the operability interface within the radio access run time environment. This interface is traditionally vendor specific but by opening it, Nokia said it would lead to the development of new kinds of radio solutions, with operators given the opportunity to mix up products from different vendors.

Another implication of the open interface is an easier method of deploying cells or node, which can be built and set up by third parties. Nokia said this would allow operators to build coverage where more traditional methods would not be economically sound.

In the longer term, Nokia will open a base station hardware platform, giving its collaborators access to reference design and hardware specification. This will happen during the first half of 2016.

Another advantage of the project, according to Nokia, is a reduction in costs of bringing mobile coverage to rural areas. 

Henri Tervonen, Head of Architecture and Technology, Nokia, said: "The traditional carrier-grade operator model requires a sustainable business case for deploying mobile coverage. The deployment is often time consuming and costly, and some places can be left out of coverage because they lack required traffic and revenue streams.

"The model suggested by Telecom Infra Project can lower the threshold of deploying coverage and it can be done by 3rd parties. For users, this will mean improved mobile connectivity in places where coverage would otherwise not be feasible, including underground areas, indoors and other black holes in urban coverage, in unconnected rural villages, and in other remote areas."

Park Jin-hyo, SVP and Head of Network Technology R&D Center, SK Telecom, added: "The telecommunication industry needs a new pace of change. Korea has the world's highest LTE penetration rate, and is rapidly moving towards 5G. To meet constantly changing customer demands in the upcoming 5G era, we need a new way to revolutionize how the networks are built. It is our belief that TIP cooperation will open up a new possibility in this aspect and SK Telecom is keen on contributing to this project."