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Gibtelecom in E4m multimedia technology investment

Unite Union Press Call at the JMH(Photo John Bugeja) 23.03.17 Gibraltar Tony Woodhouse, a member of the Unite executive council in the UK, campaign relating to Ian McClusky. In pix Michael Netto

Gibtelecom and Ericsson signed a €4million contract yesterday that will result in a number of enhancements to landline services on the Rock and facilitate the introduction of 5G mobile service.
The signing of the contract marks the start of a two-year process of transitioning into the new technology, called an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution, that will result in high definition landline calls, instant call set-up times and the ability to use one single telephone number for fixed and mobile services at home or abroad.
Jose Antonio Lopez, President of Ericsson Iberia and Morocco, was in Gibraltar to sign the deal with Gibtelecom’s CEO Tim Bristow.
The new system will replace a 30-year-old fixed line switch known as System X, which is housed in City Hall.
System X itself replaced the iconic old style telephone exchanges, which saw operators physically connected the placed calls.
Gibtelecom Senior Engineer, Voice Services, Clive Freyone, was there when System X was deployed and commissioned.
“The switch has served Gibraltar tremendously well since then,” he said.
“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.”
Ericsson has done business with Gibtelecom before, including introducing GPRS (2.5G) in 2002, 3G in 2007 and 4G+ in 2016.
However, it still had to compete with a number of other companies from around the globe all tendering for the work.
“Ericsson are once again thrilled to partner with Gibtelecom as the leading provider of telecommunications services on the Rock,” Sr Lopez said.
“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 being chosen by Gibtelecom to be a part of that journey.”
At the signing Mr Bristow commented that Gibtelecom was once again demonstrating 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 said.
“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,” he added.
Jansen Reyes, Gibtelecom Director of Technology, was also at the signing and said he believes that the capital investment in an IMS solution 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,” he said.
“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,” he added.

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