China Telecom has signed a deal with Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade its existing public switched telephone network (PSTN) with an internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS). The new system, the first large-scale deployment of IMS by the telco, will be rolled out to 120 million people across six provinces: Shanghai, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Xinjiang and Sichuan. The development is the first stage of the operator’s plan to migrate its multimedia services, video, data, fixed and mobile voice to a single common platform, and follows a successful trial in Shandong and Shanghai. Xu Sui, the Deputy General Manager of Network Development at China Telecom described the deal as ‘a critical step in our transformation to a much more flexible, cost effective all-IP network’. Alcatel-Lucent will also be working with the operator to produce a new series of services, such as image sharing, a unified network address book, and multimedia instant messaging.
According to Telegeography’s GlobalComms Database, China Telecom had 175 million PSTN lines at the end of 2010 and 100.25 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2011.