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How CAT Telecom Thailand took the lead in premium private lines

Thailand's major enterprises are embracing cloud, big data, and AI, and stepping up the pace of cloud migration. Read how CAT Telecom has achieved business success as a result.

By Liu Xi, Vice President of Transmission Network Domain, Huawei
Liu Xi

In 2016, the Thai government launched the Thailand 4.0 model to accelerate Thailand's socioeconomic development over the next 20 years by transforming traditional agriculture, SMEs, and service industries with digital technology. 

Developing its digital economy is key to the nation’s economic transformation, ICT innovation, and the Thailand 4.0 model. 

Reshaping the market landscape 

CAT provides several standard datacom services for government and private customers. In 2019, CAT’s overall market share of around 16 percent ranked second in the 2B market, a position that it’s maintained for years. Although CAT has consistently provided high-quality private-line services for its customers, it wanted to improve its competitive advantages and began exploring how to do so. 

Thailand's enterprise private line services are mainly used in the following scenarios:

1. Large-capacity point to-point connections for data center interconnection (DCI).

2. Cloud connections for vertical industries such as government and finance.

3. VPN connections for medium and large enterprises.

4. International IPLC connections for multinational enterprises.

5. Broadband services for homes and domestic SMEs.


Issues with current private line services

Currently, private line services mainly use Ethernet and MPLS VPN technologies. Price is determined by bandwidth and services are differentiated with simple SLAs. Ring topology is used for protection and the maximum availability is a weak 99.9 percent. Network resources aren’t visualized and service provisioning needs to be confirmed node by node, leading to long service provisioning times, complex configuration, and difficult bandwidth adjustment. 

After services are provisioned, private line services and other services are transmitted together, which means they may affect each other in peak hours. In addition, due to the homogeneity of technologies and services, many carriers and ISPs are competing in the market on price to attract customers, driving down the price each year. Rapid cloud migration by large enterprises means that the experience and the services offered by current private-line products don’t match requirements. 

Unique, differentiated, and premium 

CAT has customers in the government, finance, banking, and transportation industries, with VIP customers mainly based around Bangkok. Based on its existing 100G cross-border interconnection network, CAT decided to expand the coverage of its private-line network for enterprise users by adding and reconstructing a number of sites.

  • First, it deployed two new OTN aggregation sites in the metropolitan area, which will increase the total number of enterprise customers tenfold and cover around 70 percent of ultra-large enterprises, large enterprises, and data centers.
  • Second, CAT reconstructed existing 10+ ROADM sites and ILA sites into OTN aggregation sites, so that the entire network can support 150+ SMEs, 10+ large enterprises, and five data centers.
  • Third, the entire network uses unified controllers to manage and provision services, which improves network resource utilization. Based on this network construction plan, CAT and Huawei built the first OTN premium private-line network in Thailand. Using Huawei's E2E OTN + iMaster NCE solution, CAT constructed a flattened network covering the entire country. The iMaster NCE intelligent management and control system is used network-wide to implement E2E management, achieving a one-hop connection to the government and enterprise cloud through OTN-based hard pipes. 

The premium private line network provides the following features:

High security and wide coverage: OTN hard pipe isolation, exclusive bandwidth, and full coverage in Thailand.

High availability: service protection through ASON and a link availability above 99.99 percent.

Guaranteed ultra-low latency: guaranteed low latency and real-time latency visualization.

Intelligence and agility: plug-and-play CPE and the provisioning of private line services within days.

Enhanced experience: network resource visualization and online service survivability analysis.

The entire premium private-line network was completed in 2019 and is now up and running, serving Thailand’s lucrative government and enterprise market with premium services and paving the way to Thailand 4.0

Providing premium private line services for enterprise customers in Thailand

Using the OTN premium private line network now enables CAT to provide differentiated services for its enterprise customers.

Private line interconnection for large-scale Internet enterprise data centers: CAT premium private line products support fast switchover and recovery upon occasional faults, with a network availability of 99.99 percent.

Financial industry: The unique ms-level low latency of the CAT premium private line ensures nearly real-time transmission of information such as transactions, settlement, and market information queries. This enables financial enterprises such as securities companies and banks to outperform competitors.

Transportation industry: Hard pipe isolation facilitates secure and reliable scheduling.

Intelligent healthcare industry: High reliability and low latency allow surgical interns to remotely observe operations performed by experts. Moreover, adjustable bandwidth allows medical images to be quickly uploaded to the cloud for analysis.

On December 16, 2019, CAT and Huawei officially released Thailand's first OTN premium private line network, recommending it to 150 customers from 70 enterprises across Thailand, including companies in the ICT, banking and investment, payment security, and logistics and transportation sectors. At the launch event, the Thailand government data and cloud service center (a third-party data hosting center for government agencies) reached a cooperation intention with CAT.

Looking to the future, CAT will further cooperate with global partners such as Huawei to promote the application of innovative OTN technology in Thailand, build a leading OTN premium private line network, and accelerate the digital transformation of enterprises in Thailand.