Comstar-UTS plans US$ 400mn IMS upgrade

Russian telco Comstar-UTS is to spend around US$ 400mn over the next three years on upgrading the network of its subsidiary Moscow City Telephone Company (MGTS) using IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technology, according to Sergei Pridantsev, President of Comstar United TeleSystems.

Speaking in an interview with Russian news agency PRIME-TASS, Mr. Pridantsev said: “IMS is a technology that allows for simultaneously digitalising MGTS’ network and ensuring the availability of broadband Internet access in every apartment covered by the IMS network." He added that the introduction of IMS will allow a technological jump from analogue, skipping Next Generation Network (NGN) technology for example.

“If digitalisation (of a fixed-line network) on a similar scale was carried out in the traditional way by building digital telephone switchboards, introducing NGN, etc., it would require about US$ 800mn,” he added. The executive said that the introduction of IMS will make it possible to provide services without traditional telephone switchboards, resulting in savings on switchboard maintenance and freeing up floor space of as much as 1mn square metres where its switchboards are currently located. Mr. Pridantsev also said that MGTS will be able to cut personnel by 50% to around 5,000 employees.

Companies mooted to supply equipment for the development of IMS in Moscow include Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson. Participants in the telco's tender for home gateways include ZyXEL, Pirelli and others, said Mr. Pridantsev, adding that Russian firms have yet to make their bids.

The executive also stated that Comstar-UTS is planning to introduce IMS technology outside the Moscow region at a later date.