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JT Picks ZTE to Deploy 5G Mobile on the British Channel Islands

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 (12:08 pm) - Score 773
5g uk mobile broadband

The stated-owned telecoms operator JT (Jersey Telecom) has decided to shun recent security concerns by partnering with Chinese state-owned enterprise ZTE, which will help them to build a new 5G ultrafast mobile broadband network on the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel).

JT is in a good position after the recent completion of their Gigabit Isles project, which deployed a new 1Gbps capable “ultrafastFibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network across Jersey (here). As a result the forthcoming 5G network should have plenty of access to all of the necessary capacity.

As part of the new contracts, which were signed on Tuesday this week in Shenzhen (China), JT and ZTE will initially aim to build a test network during 2019 (subject to CICRA licensing the spectrum they need). After that they will seek to “roll out incremental improvements as standards solidify” and the hope is to offer a Channel Island wide service by 2021.

JT forecast that, in addition to thousands of IoT devices, by 2023 some 10% of Islanders will have 5G enabled devices.

Graeme Millar, JT CEO, said:

“Our goal is to build the best networks we possibly can for islanders to enjoy. We aspire to build on our island’s world beating fibre network and now offer Channel Islanders the best 5G service in the world. Our role is to support our customers, providing them the technology to do whatever they want. By building these information super highways we make this possible.

ZTE are the ideal partner, who’ve supported us already with our 4G network. We know customers appreciate its speed and quality. Indeed, our ZTE 4G network has been ranked as the fastest in the CI by global assessor Ookla for the last three years running. We expect more of the same from our Islands’ new 5G network.

We’re committed to ensuring customers continue to enjoy the best connectivity in the world by both wire and air: the journey moving from 4G to 5G will be similar to the revolution from copper to fibre. Whilst it will be a complex project involving the complete upgrade of our mobile network, new customer handsets and other changes, we believe we are ideally placed to help our customers experience the benefits this technology offers.

It was an honour to sign this deal during a formal trade delegation visit to China, when we were also able to support Jersey in developing business in Asia. We are proud to give voice to our Islands on the world stage and firmly believe the Channel Islands can hold their own in terms of connectivity against any country in the world. We thank all Channel Islanders for supporting the development of our advanced networks and services.”

Kenneth Cao, MD of ZTE UK, said:

“This is a key milestone for both ZTE and JT to start the journey of 5G. 5G is an enabler for technology innovation and digital transformation and at ZTE we aim to be a world leader in 5G solution development. As we did through our 4G partnership, ZTE are determined and committed to provide the best possible 5G solution and service to JT and for the Channel Islands.”

However the move could raise an eyebrow or two, not least because it comes several months after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned UK telecoms operators against using hardware and services provided by ZTE because of “potential risks to the UK’s national security” (here).

The Channel Islands are part of the British Isles and residents do have British passports, but they remain self-governing (i.e. a British Crown Dependency with its own financial and legal systems, as well as its own courts of law). JT doesn’t have to follow the NCSC’s guidelines, although some may feel as if they should.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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