Türk Telekom and ZTE Lead European 50G PON Innovation

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In a groundbreaking move, Türk Telekom in collaboration with ZTE, has successfully completed a 50G PON trial in Turkey, marking a significant stride in the evolution of networking technology. This trial not only showcased the ability to achieve downstream speeds surpassing 50 Gbps over a single fiber but also demonstrated compatibility with existing PON generations within Türk Telekom’s infrastructure, setting a precedent in Europe.

The trial, dubbed a European first for its three-in-one 50G PON Combo capability, seamlessly integrated GPON and XGS-PON technologies—where the latter supports 10 Gbps symmetrical speeds—alongside the advanced 50G PON. This integration was facilitated through the use of ZTE’s innovative 50G PON Combo cards within Türk Telekom’s current OLT chassis. This compatibility signifies a leap towards future-proofing the network for emerging services requiring ultra-high bandwidth, such as sophisticated home and enterprise applications, mobile xHaul, and deterministic campus networks.

Despite the success and optimism surrounding this trial, the path to commercial deployment of 50G PON technology is fraught with challenges, notably its current inability to provide symmetrical uplink and downlink speeds. The uplink speeds, in particular, fall significantly short of the 50 Gbps mark.

The importance of this trial extends beyond its technical achievements, highlighting a critical phase in the maturation of 50G PON technology, anticipated to be commercially viable by 2025 according to Yong Jie, CEO of ZTE Türkiye. However, widespread adoption and deployment are expected to lag, potentially stretching towards the decade’s end.

Analysts, such as Dell’Oro Group, forecast a robust growth in the 50G PON equipment market, from a modest US$3 million in 2023 to an impressive $1.5 billion by 2027. Despite this, 50G PON is predicted to capture only a moderate market share initially, with expectations of significant expansion post-2027 as operators transition from 10Gbps networks to more advanced technologies.

The trial underscores the commitment of ZTE and Türk Telekom to advancing 50G PON technology. Nonetheless, the industry acknowledges the hurdles that lie ahead, emphasizing the necessity for continued innovation and compatibility to ensure a seamless transition to next-generation network technologies.

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