PARTNER INTERVIEW: Macao-based CTM disclosed plans to launch 5G services is ready, with the company exploring ways to link its mobile network with Wi-Fi networks to improve coverage and performance at a lower cost.
Declan Leong, VP of Network Services at CTM, told Mobile World Live it expects its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to reach 100 per cent of the territory’s homes and businesses in next few months, after recently hitting 97 per cent.
The company’s FTTH investment is part of its Digital Macao plan, which aims to speed up the development of smart transformation in the city.
To attract consumer customers to its fibre services it also developed a number of smart city and smart home applications, which include IoT support.
The company first launched fibre services back in 2010.
The operator also is studying extending coverage throughout a customer’s apartment to ensure stable and high-speed internet service in every room.
“Our target is to provide connectivity supporting 1GB/s to each room. With this fibre-to-the-room capability, I think we can support a lot of new applications in the future.”
Leong explained that in a density populated city like Macau, laying fibre to the building is difficult. “Taking the fibre to the customer premises is the most challenging part because in Macao a lot of apartments dosen’t have right facilities to allow us to lay fibre.”
The operator has experimented with various techniques to install the last ten metres, such as using existing telephone lines to slide fibre into units and running tiny fibre cable that is almost invisible along walls.
He pointed out other major challenges include delivering adequate Wi-Fi coverage and significant interference issues.
“We educate customers to acquire decent equipment to ensure good coverage to maintain stable conditions.”
He noted that Macao as a small city has limited local content, with most served from neighbouring cities. “The cost of the connectivity is extremely high, and we cannot guarantee the quality.”
To overcome these challenges, the company encourages content providers and content delivery network (CDN) operators to install hosting equipment locally, with CTM providing the necessary facilities to allow them to setup their operations in Macao.
“Now we can control the path to connect to content and can provide it in really good condition to customers because the content is sitting in Macao.”
For content that can’t be localised, CTM set up international end-to-end connectivity to directly connect to the content.
The operator conducts daily end-to-end benchmarking on various applications and content to ensure it understand the performance customer are experiencing and upgraded its access and core networks, including its international gateway, to IPv6.
With these moves, Leong is confident it can develop additional “rich and more attractive” FTTH-related services for consumer and business customers.
He added that its heavy investment in fibre broadband is not enough, which is why it is focused on other initiatives. “We can sell separate services, such smart home or other applications, using the same connection into customer premises.”
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