Displaying items by tag: Europe

GSMA expected to discuss Huawei issue at MWC

Written on Tuesday, 05 February 2019 08:27

The governing body that represents the world’s mobile operators is expected to discuss the ongoing issue of Chinese telecommunications vendor Huawei at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The GSMA has proposed to its members that they hold a discussion regarding the possibility of a blanket ban on Huawei from the majority of developed markets within the ICT ecosystem.  A number of leading operators have expressed their disapproval at the tactics being used against Huawei, with many feeling it is a politically motivated campaign being led by the United States.

There is also a general consensus amongst ICT stakeholders and major players that any ban on Huawei will significantly impact the rollout of 5G networks. Vodafone CEO Nick Read has already publicly stated that a ban could delay the commercial deployment of 5G in Europe by up to two years.

It has been reported that the GSMA Director-General Mats Granryd has written to its members about Huawei and has said the current situation involving the Chinese vendor should be part of its agenda on its next board meeting in Barcelona later this month.

The GSMA represents mobile operators globally, and united more than 750 operators with over 350 companies as part of a broader mobile ecosystem, which includes the handset and device manufacturers, equipment providers and internet companies.

Huawei has found itself at the centre of intense scrutiny from the US in recent months, and was just like week charged with a number of indictments related to intellectual property theft and fraud. Huawei has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has accused the US of participating in an ‘immoral political campaign’.

Diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Washington are strained and officials from both countries are set to meet again later this week to resume trade talks.

However, this isn’t the first time the US has went after a high-profile Chinese telecommunications company. Huawei’s domestic rival ZTE was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy after draconian measures were imposed against them by the US Department of Commerce.

Huawei has been banned from any role in the rollout of 5G networks in Australia and New Zealand. The European Union has said it will look at the issues that have been alleged by the US.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Europe’s largest telecommunications operator Deutsche Telekom has warned that if governments across the continent decide to implement a ban on Chinese vendor Huawei, then the rollout of 5G networks could be delayed by at least two years.

Published in Telecom Operators

British telecommunications behemoth Vodafone has confirmed that it has delayed the installation of equipment supplied by Chinese vendor Huawei amidst security concerns surrounding the company.

However, Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read moved quickly to highlight that a blanket ban on Huawei would significantly hamper the roll out of 5G as the innovative Chinese enterprise has become the global leader in relation to 5G development.

Read said that the cautionary measure was taken by Vodafone because of the controversy currently swirling around Huawei following the high-profile arrest of its CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, and the detainment of another executive in Poland on suspicion of espionage.

Vodafone will engage in further discussions from authorities who have flagged their safety concerns over Huawei. However, Vodafone has insisted that but it will use the vendor’s equipment in its radio networks.

Read stated that the authorities had not forced Vodafone’s decision, but did acknowledge and concede that the negativity around Huawei had now become unhealthy in Europe and required for a more structured conversation that presented the facts so that we’re making the right decision for the industry, and isn’t politically motivated.

Vodafone Group said that it uses only a small amount of Huawei equipment in its core networks in a number of markets in Europe, which includes. However, interestingly the CEO did confirm that Huawei’s equipment was not used in its core network in the UK.

In addition to this, Read highlighted the importance of the availability of Huawei infrastructure, adding the industry needed to “look at it more holistically” and be “more grounded.” He noted rival vendors Ericsson and Nokia also have R&D facilities and significant manufacturing facilities located in China.

Vodafone has continued to pursue its digital strategy and has yielded good financial returns by simplifying its operating model and accelerating digital transformation. Vodafone has also announced an extension of a network sharing deal with Telefonica’s O2 UK, and added that it is planning to explore opportunities to monetize its UK tower assets. 

Published in Telecom Operators

Irish capital is Europe’s data hub

Written on Thursday, 24 January 2019 12:28

A new industrial revolution is underway in the heart of the Irish capital as clusters of warehouses housing vast quantities of data continue to emerge.

Dublin has really embraced technology in an effort to boost its flagging and shrinking economy following the global crash in 2008. Internet behemoths such as Facebook, Apple and Google all have their European HQ’s in Dublin and the city has become the continent’s No.1 data hub.

A familiar term within the ICT ecosystem is that ‘data is the new oil’ and will fuel the global economy. Those sentiments were echoed by Brian Roe, Commercial Director of Serve-Centric, which is a data center company.

Roe said, “Data is the new oil, definitely.  These powerhouse developments provide 24/7/365 access to the massive data, processing power and storage that digital services around Europe require. People are saying, ‘Well everything is going to come from the cloud’.  Well where's the cloud? The cloud is data centers."

Ireland’s industry lobby group Host has said the new phenomenon has become the unlikely engine room for everything from video streaming to phone apps and social media.    

In addition to this, progressive government incentives, a highly-skilled workforce and high connectivity to Europe and America are helping attract data center construction investment which is expected to reach nine billion euros ($10 billion) by 2021.

The sector employs 5,700 people in full-time equivalent roles including 1,800 as data center operators, according to a report produced for Ireland's investment agency. Many of Ireland’s brightest young talent were forced to emigrate after the recession, but many are no returning to avail of the exciting new opportunities presented by Dublin’s transformation into a tech hub.    

Data has become a hot topic in Europe following the introduction of GDPR. Enterprises have been forced to examine their data harvesting and storage practices in a more forensic manner. Consumers have also now been awakened to the dangers of providing their data online following the high-profile Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal which emerged last year. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- which provides cloud services for hire -- is a particular concern for Paul O' Neill, a researcher based at Dublin City University. "The ethical implications of hosting AWS data centers in Ireland are potentially vast," he said.

AWS, which has announced plans to expand its Dublin operations, sells controversial facial recognition technology to US police.

"These corporations are or have been involved in many of the dominant controversies and debates of our contemporary networked era including privacy, data breaches and surveillance.”

Published in Infrastructure

Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei has moved swiftly to terminate the contract of an employee who has been arrested in Poland amidst claims he was spying for China.

Huawei executive Wang Weijing was detained by Polish authorities on Friday, following a lengthy investigation that was conducted by Poland’s special services. It is believed that Weijing is a director for the Polish branch of Huawei.

It’s the latest setback for Huawei’s brand globally following the high-profile arrest of the vendors’ CTO, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December. She is fighting extradition to the US, where she stands accused of fraud relating to business activity in Iran.

The Chinese vendor robustly defended its CTO following her arrest and demanded her immediate release from jail. However, Huawei has wasted no timing in trying to distance itself from this latest scandal in Poland by announcing it has fired the employee in question for harming the company’s global reputation.

In a statement given to the Global Times, Huawei said that Wang Weijing was arrested for ‘personal reasons’ and said the incident caused significant damage to the company at a time when it’s under intense scrutiny regarding security.

Huawei cited management rules in company contracts and said it was left with no decision but to terminate its employer relationship with Wang Weijing immediately.  Poland has claimed that they firmly believe the Huawei executive was spying for China.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded quickly to the claims made by Polish authorities and expressed that it was ‘highly concerned’ by the arrest. The latest controversy is something Huawei really could’ve done without.

US President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order which would ban US companies from working with Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei over the alleged risk both pose to national security.

In addition to this, Australia and Japan have blocked Huawei from participating in the construction of their super-fast 5G networks, whilst the UK and New Zealand are also considering banning the vendor from the rollout of its 5G networks.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic refused to "speculate" when asked Friday if there were any concerns about Chinese retaliation.

"We are aware of the reports and we will be indeed in touch with the Polish authorities for further information," she told reporters. 

Published in Telecom Vendors

Telenor launches Europe’s first VoLTE roaming

Written on Wednesday, 09 January 2019 09:52

Telenor Denmark has launched Europe’s first outbound VoLTE roaming service.

Due to the shutdown of its 2G and 3G networks, the telco industry’s VoLTE roaming implementation pace had been running very slowly and sought an alternative voice roaming solution. In October 2018, Telenor Denmark welcomed its outbound VoLTE roaming.

In the same month, Telenor Norway opened for inbound VoLTE traffic from Telenor Denmark.

Telenor’s Global Wholesale unit has played a significant role in making VoLTE roaming become reality in Telenor by coordinating efforts across all company units. Telenor Norway and Denmark were chosen as pilot project in order to learn and build the necessary competence that will be used to address other Telenor units and their specific network and billing challenges. This means that upcoming Telenor affiliates can implement VoLTE roaming faster and more efficient, which also includes cost synergies.

Harald Krogh, CEO of Telenor Group’s Global Wholesale unit says “I am proud that Telenor now has taken the first steps towards establishing a new voice roaming solution. However, VoLTE roaming is not a single operator’s task. It can only be valuable if the whole industry embraces the challenge and makes the substantial efforts which are necessary to move voice roaming from 2G/3G to VoLTE. As an industry it is time to work together, enable the shutdown of the legacy networks and thereby simplify and optimize the way we work.”

For the time being Telenor has enabled VoLTE roaming only on selected handsets from Sony and Samsung. In order to speed up VoLTE roaming rollout and start looking for effective ways to enable VoLTE roaming for all customers, it is urged to onboard other handset vendors as well.

“If Telenor are to succeed with this, we need both our roaming partners and handset vendors to give more attention to VoLTE roaming and contribute with their pieces of this important roaming puzzle. This is where our focus will be in the months to come. We have a solution ready for inbound as well as outbound and are now working with onboarding one affiliate at a time”, Krogh adds.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Huawei’s HONOR smartphones dominate Black Friday sales

Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 07:46

Leading smartphone e-brand HONOR, recorded an impressive sales performance on Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday in Europe, Middle East and USA. HONOR products dominated Amazon best seller lists in France, Germany, Italy and UK, with this year’s figures revealing a remarkable 250% YoY sales increase from 2017 across pan-European regions and sales in Spain reaching an impressive 300%.

HONOR smartphones’ popularity with shoppers demonstrates HONOR's continued growth and the increasing demand for its AI-Powered models. The HONOR 9 Lite was the No.1 online best-selling smartphone in the EUR150-EUR200 category, while the HONOR 10 - with its industry-leading AI-powered dual camera - ranked highly on the Amazon Top 10 list for Black Friday weekend sales. The new handset, HONOR 8X, was the best new release on Amazon Germany, and was the Best Seller in France smartphone online sales since the global launch in October. In Russia, the HONOR 8X is now the top selling smartphone online, and it has surpassed the sales of its predecessor, the HONOR 7X, with an increase of 500%.

During a Black Friday Promotion in the USA, the HONOR View 10 sold out on Amazon and Newegg, and saw remarkable sales growth over the weekend in the Middle East.  Over Black Friday Weekend, HONOR ranked No.1 in the phone category on all sales channels in Finland, while Czech Republic saw overall HONOR smartphone growth reach 200% compared to 2017, with a 300% YoY increase for the HONOR 10. In Poland, the HONOR Play recorded 500% sales growth during Black Friday weekend, completely selling out on Euronet, X-kom and Media Expert within two hours, reaching an overall 150% sales growth.

"I'm pleased and grateful for the support we have received from consumers during this year's Black Friday sales. This latest sales surge tops a successful year for the HONOR brand, and we look forward to another fast-growing year in 2019,” said George Zhao, President of HONOR.

“With continued efforts in innovative technology and cutting-edge product design, we will continue to provide the best smartphones with the ultimate user experience to all consumers around the world."

Published in Devices

Cell carriers race to prepare UK for 5G launch

Written on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 12:12

Europe’s leading cell carrier, EE, is bringing 5g service to sixteen cities in 2019. London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast are expected to be the first to receive the mobile service in its initial rollout phase. They are to focus on high volume centers such as Heathrow airport, Edinburgh Waverly train station, Hyde Park and the Welsh Assembly.

Manchester and Birmingham are scheduled to follow later in the year.

There are also plans to bring 5G to an additional 10 cities, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol throughout 2019. EE intends to upgrade 1,500 sites that are responsible for 25% of the cell traffic. 

As part of its 5G plans, EE is launching 5G home broadband service, which looks set to bring high speeds to UK households via a specialized router and external antenna.

Other major European carriers such as Three UK and Vodafone are to also join them in launching mobile 5G.

Currently, none of the flagship phone models support 5G. However, cell manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, are working together to get ready for the transition.

Published in Telecom Operators

More than 30 percent of Europe’s mobile connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025, according to a new GSMA study. The 2017 Europe edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy series, forecasts that there will be 214 million 5G connections in Europe by 2025, establishing the region as one of the largest 5G markets in the world by that point. 

The first commercial 5G networks in Europe are due to be switched on by 2020 and are expected to provide 5G network coverage to almost three-quarters of Europe’s population by 2025, according to the report.

“Europe has an opportunity to reestablish itself as a global technology leader as we move toward the 5G era, but this can only happen if policymakers move quickly and boldly to make the necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative services to Europe’s citizens,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

"A forward-looking regulatory environment designed to encourage long-term investment and innovation in Europe’s digital infrastructure is essential to maintaining a vibrant European mobile ecosystem and delivering the European Commission’s vision for a ‘Gigabit Society’,” Granryd added.

Europe is the most highly penetrated mobile region in the world, according to the GSMA. At the end of 2016, there were 456 million unique mobile subscribers in Europe, equivalent to 84 per cent of the population.

This high penetration rate means that there is little room for subscriber growth over the coming years: unique mobile subscribers in Europe are forecast to reach 469 million by 2020, or 86 per cent of the population – a 0.7 per cent CAGR (2016-2020).

However, slowing subscriber growth is being offset by the rapid migration to 4G networks. 4G accounted for a third of mobile connections in Europe at the end of 2016, and is forecast to account for more than 60 per cent of the total by 2020 as more Europeans take up 4G devices amid a growing demand for data and as 4G network coverage increases.

The number of 4G connections will overtake 3G connections in Europe for the first time this year, according to the report. 4G networks are also set to evolve and grow in popularity well into the 5G era, supporting higher speeds via network upgrades based on MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) and carrier aggregation technologies.

Mobile revenue growth in Europe is showing signs of stabilizing, following a prolonged period of negative or flat growth. European mobile operator revenue reached EUR143 billion in 2016 and is expected to increase slightly to EUR146 billion by the end of 2020. The report attributes the steadying performance to rising data demand, improved macroeconomic conditions and an easing of regulatory pressures.

Last year, mobile technologies and services generated EUR540 billion in economic value across Europe, a contribution equivalent to 3.4 per cent of Europe’s GDP.

By 2020, the report says, this figure is expected to increase to around EUR670 billion (3.9 per cent of GDP), as the region experiences strong growth in productivity brought about by continued adoption of machine-to-machine technology and the increased digitization of industry and services.

Europe’s mobile ecosystem supported 2.6 million jobs, directly and indirectly, in 2016. The sector also makes an important contribution to the funding of the public sector, with EUR100 billion raised in 2016, mainly in the form of general taxation, including VAT, corporate taxes and employment taxes.

To support the mobile industry’s increasing contribution to Europe’s growth and innovation, the report highlights the need for new thinking around telecoms sector regulation. It calls for a review of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market, launched two years ago, particularly with regards to new proposals such as the European Electronic Communications Code and ePrivacy Regulation.

“Europe needs a holistic policy and regulatory framework that reinforces its position as a preferred location for investment and innovation,” added Granryd. “We are calling for fresh dialogue between government and industry to assess how the Digital Single Market has performed to date, what needs to change and where regulation can promote the long-term development of Europe’s digital vision.”

Published in Featured

Vodafone Portugal and NOS to deploy and share FTTH network

Written on Tuesday, 03 October 2017 13:08

Vodafone Portugal and NOS, a Portuguese media holding company, have signed an agreement to deploy and share a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network which will be marketable to around 2.6 million homes and businesses in Portugal. The two companies will provide reciprocal access to each other’s networks on commercially agreed terms.

The total number of homes and businesses to be shared by the two companies will be around 2.6 million covering both existing and greenfield areas (undeveloped land in a city or rural area).

Vodafone Portugal will gain access to 1.3 million homes and businesses in new areas. This will increase its total coverage from 2.7 million to around 4.0 million, representing 80 percent of the households in the country.

Each party will deploy, but not share, the link between the central office and the fibre backbone, active equipment and CPEs (customer-premises equipment). Customer connections and activations will be independent of each other.

Marketing of services across the joint network will commence from the beginning of calendar 2018. Both Vodafone Portugal and NOS will maintain complete autonomy and flexibility in respect of their respective retail offers.

The agreement is consistent with Vodafone Group’s fixed infrastructure strategy, which aims for an optimal mix of build, strategic partnerships, wholesale and buy approaches. As a result of this strategy, Vodafone can already market high-speed services to 98 million homes across Europe, and this agreement extends this to over 100 million.

Vodafone Portugal’s current fibre-to-the-home deployment program reached 2.7 million homes as of June 2017. The company has 4.7 million mobile customers and around 550,000 fixed broadband customers.

Published in Infrastructure
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