Telefónica is one of the largest telecom operators and mobile network providers in the world, with more than 346 million subscribers in 21 countries. It operates the Movistar mobile phone brand throughout Latin America. ZTE and Telefónica have established strategic partnership in several technological areas of interest to the company, including radio technologies.
ZTE has established relationship with Movistar Venezuela in microwave (MW) transmission since 2013. A contract of 1000 hops of MW was signed by both parties. Considering the highly focus on hybrid access of multiple service and smooth LTE-oriented evolution, ZTE provided NR8000 series microwave products—ZXMW NR8250/NR8120 based on hybrid and packet platform, which would enable smooth evolution from 2G/3G to LTE backhaul. In this project, there is a super long distance MW link up to 92.23 kilometers from Guasdalito to Cerro Azul. It is a big challenge for microwave due to performance decrease by multipath fading and specular reflection. Besides, this is a key link on backbone transmission, where a fair amount of sites would be affected in case of any failure. Hence, high reliability and outstanding transmission performance with high throughput are the most important for this link. ZTE proposed space diversity (SD) technology with 3.7 meters diameter antennas to guarantee transmission reliability. Cross polarization interference canceller (XPIC) technology was also used to achieve high throughput transmission. Finally, the outstanding performance and high reliability of ZXMWNR8000 series products impressed Movistar, which lay a good foundation for the subsequent long and stable cooperation between ZTE and Movistar.
In 2015, Telefónica Group launched a new Global MW RFP for 2016 deployment. ZTE’s new-generation MW products started homologation tests with Telefónica Group in the branches of Ecuador (field trial), Panama (field trial), Venezuela (lab tests only) and Nicaragua (field trial). Based upon the results of these tests, ZTE would be able to participate in the Global MW RFQ bidding process.
In Nicaragua, another long distance MW link of the existing network was facing challenges such as antenna size—the diameter should not be larger than 2 meters, installation space—no indoor space, over lake and long distance (88 kilometers)—severe specular reflection. ZTE proposed NR8000 TR 4+4 XPIC SD with physical layer aggregation (PLA) solution to meet the challenges. The transmitting power of NR8000 increased 2 dB, which lowered the requirement for antenna size. Only 1.8 meters antennas were used to fulfill the requirement. NR8000 could also be installed in an outdoor cabinet—zero footprint. Moreover, PLA with XPIC functionality solved the conflict between throughput and distance, and SD configuration addressed the issue of specular reflection.
In the lab test in Venezuela, the latest software release and full package of license were applied (Fig. 1), including future-proof functions such as 10GE and hierarchical quality of service (HQoS). A total of 291 items were tested covering environmental, power and radio features, as well as system robustness and management. NR8000 family products including ZXMW NR8120D, ZXMW NR8150, ZXMW NR8250 and ZXMW NR8950 were fully conformed to the tests and received high recogniztion from Movistar Venezuela.
Movistar Panama, the subsidiary of Telefonica, is the second largest mobile operator in Panama. It has established cooperation with ZTE since 2016. ZTE helped Movistar Panama modernize its networks by swapping out existing sites and deploying Uni-RAN solution. In 2016 Q2, Movistar Panama signed contracts with ZTE on MW transmission. With excellent network quality, Movistar saw a significant business growth in H1 2016.
Telefónica Movistar Peru and Mexico also chose ZTE’s ZXMW NR8000 products in 2016 Q2. So far, five branches of Telefónica Movistar in Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru, have all cooperated with ZTE on MW transmission (Fig. 2).
ZTE has been involved in microwave radio system products since 2005. The company set up a microwave product line in April 2008. ZTE’s microwave product NR8000 series includes compact NR8120/NR8120A/NR8120D, modular NR8150, nodal NR8250, all outdoor NR8950/NR8961 and trunk radio NR8000 TR. The products provide a unified hybrid and packet transport platform featuring high capacity, high performance, IP oriented, and multiple service access, which can satisfy transmission demands of 4G and 5G.
Up to Q4 2017, more than 130,000 hops of ZTE’s microwave products have been deployed in more than 90 countries and areas, providing high-quality transmission services for 200 telecom operators and enterprises. ZTE’s microwave products have been successfully deployed for mainstream operators worldwide such as China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, Vodafone, Orange, TeliaSonera, Telefonica, MTN, Etisalat, STC, and Telestra.
Telefónica, microwave transmission, space diversity, XPIC, MW link, Telefónica Movistar