T-Mobile, Czech Republic: Backhaul transformation

T-Mobile Czech Republic future-proofs its mobile backhaul network with increased capacity and IP capabilities.

T-Mobile has evolved its microwave mobile backhaul network by moving from a MINI-LINK E to a MINI-LINK TN based network. Now, the mobile backhaul network is ready for high speed mobile broadband, while efficiently handling legacy services.

T-Mobile operates in a very competitive and highly penetrated market. A top player among three global operators, T-Mobile has the largest customer base in the Czech Republic and is considered a pioneer in telecommunications.

The T-Mobile network currently covers more than 99 percent of the Czech population and 99.98 percent of E-class roads in the country. Ericsson has been the sole supplier of the operator's microwave networks since 1996, with more than 4 500 hops installed to date.

In a constant drive for leadership, T-Mobile focused on expanding its service offering in the market by delivering data services in addition to voice. This meant an early need to transport IP traffic and to handle the increased capacity. Therefore, T-Mobile began adopting an IP RAN over Ethernet backhaul as early as 2005. Ericsson proposed a cost-efficient upgrade of MINILINK E to MINI-LINK TN for a smooth introduction of IP transport. MINI-LINK TN is a hybrid link which is capable of efficiently handling a combination of TDM and Ethernet transport. This satisfies the need for both the existing TDM-based 2G network as well as its new all-IP 3G network. Thanks to an extensive re-use of the installed base of MINI-LINK outdoor units, the migration at T-Mobile was realized with a minimal investment.

The extended mobile backhaul enables T-Mobile Czech Republic to offer consumers a wide range of services. The MINI-LINK TN solution fits T-Mobile's technical requirements and provides a future-proof set up which can be adapted to meet evolving requirements. Heinz Schmid, CTO, T-Mobile Czech Republic explains why Ericsson was the preferred partner: "The transformation of T-Mobile’s transmission network had been underway for more than three years in cooperation with Ericsson. Market and customer needs have changed dramatically but Ericsson has further developed its product family to meet new expectations.

Ericsson has supported us during the integration and implementation of the MINI-LINK TN. Its reliability and compatibility with newer equipment helps T-Mobile to save costs now and in the future."

T-Mobile was one of the earliest operators in the world to migrate to the MINI-LINK TN, a path that most operators are now following. Lukáš Schovánek, Key Account Manager, Ericsson Czech Republic explains the significance of this: "T-Mobile Czech Republic is an important partner for us as it is a large MINI-LINK customer and one of the first to require a solution that efficiently handles TDM and IP traffic in parallel. The migration to MINI-LINK TN has been successful thanks to our close dialog with T-Mobile. We have met the challenges together and we have received feedback on our technology which is beneficial for this project as well as future network expansion. The cooperation with T-Mobile is a long lasting one."


Customer: T-Mobile Czech Republic

Customer Objective

  • Enhance microwave network for both TDM and IP traffic
  • Increase traffic capacity in mobile backhaul

Ericsson Solution

  • Upgrade of MINI-LINK E to MINI-LINK TN
  • Services supporting a smooth migration

Customer Benefits

  • One network for two different traffic types
  • Re-use of existing outdoor equipment
  • Cost-efficient and smooth introduction of IP transport
  • Scalable to meet growing demands

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Customer profile

T-Mobile's position in the Czech market

Established in 1996, T-Mobile Czech Republic is a member of the telecommunications group T-Mobile International. With 5 422 million customers it has the largest customer base in the country. It plays a key role in the highly developed Czech telecommunication market with penetration over 130 percent. The company has also strengthened its leading position in the business segment.