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A new report from analyst group Dell’Oro showed that Huawei holds 29 per cent of the Telecom equipment market which puts it in a position ahead both Nokia and Samsung. The Chinese vendor’s market share has increased by 8% since 2013.

In 2018, Huawei dominated the race, leading Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE, Samsung and Ciena as the primary equipment manufacturer. Dell’Oro found that all these companies combined possessed around 80% of the global market revenue of service provider equipment.

The market grew by a steady 1 per cent in 2018, after three years of decline. This growth is due to an increased demand in broadband access, optical transport, microwave and other mobile technologies. However, Huawei is the only vendor in the market that is experiencing consistent growth. Indeed, ZTE declined by a great deal and other primary vendors have remained in the same position.

Huawei is also at the top of the market in terms of wireless packet core (WPC).

Senior analyst at Dell’Oro Group Dave Bolan said: “The modest growth of the WPC market in 4Q 218 was due to the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) technologies that service providers are using for 4G networks, but also for EPC use in upcoming 5G network deployments.” He added: “For 2018 WPC market shares, Huawei was the number one vendor based on revenues: however, Ericsson retained its first-place ranking for the EPC market that was the largest sub-segment of the wireless packet core market.”

Last week, the telecoms industry gathered in Barcelona for MWC where an abundance of discussions were around 5G. EE, Qualcomm, and OnePlus launched ‘5G Apps of Tomorrow’ and the GSMA found that by 2025, 15 per cent of all mobile connections would be powered by 5G.

Published in Telecom Vendors

The profiles and personal messages of 364 million users of Chinese social media sites were leaked online, exposing private records such as photos and identity card numbers which were being gathered by the Chinese government through a surveillance program.

Cybersecurity researcher for the NGO GDI Foundation, Victor Gevers, revealed in a series of tweets that the Chinese government was using a social media surveillance program which was “retrieving messages per province from 6 social platforms and extracts named, ID numbers, ID photos, GPS locations, network information, and all the conversations an file transfers get imported into a large online database.”

He continued “Around 364 million online profiles and their chats & file transfers get processed daily. Then these accounts get linked to a real ID/person. The date is then distributed over police stations per city/province to separate operators’ databases with the same surveillance network name.”

Gevers went on to say that the program used to retrieve all the private and sensitive information looked “like a jerry-rigged PRISM clone of the NSA.” NSA was the US government’s surveillance system that Edward Snowden revealed back in 2013.

In a direct message on Twitter, Gevers voiced some of his concerns regarding the situation.

“These surveillance systems are dangerous when they are open and fully accessible to anyone, which increases the risk of remote data manipulation. We have seen databases get ‘ransomed’ in the past.”

A great deal of the leaked data included information about cybercafés, which Gevers pointed out in a screenshot and said that those cafes may have been used as a potential tool to gather data on users.

QQ and WeChat were among the six Chinese messaging services which are both operated by Tencent.

In the past, WeChat denied their monitoring of user chat logs for government surveillance, however according to the Chinese legal system, all internet companies operating in China are expected to collect and store user data locally in case of an official inspection.

Security researcher Jane Manchun Wong said: “If sensitive information was exchanged in some of those conversations, it could have been sold to black markets, the same way how stolen credit card info from compromised databases work.”

She continued, “Except this one, it’s effortless to hackers. They could essentially just walk in and everything seems to be in plain text and accessible without any login information.”

The database was allegedly secured after Gevers exposed the issue.

There have been a few major leaks in China over the past few years.

Just last month Gevers reported a case regarding a Chinese tech company, SenseNets, which stored the data of 2.6 million people in the region of Xinjiang which is of Muslim majority and is under heavy police surveillance.  The data included the ID numbers and addresses of the residents.

Published in Government

A leading telecommunications provider has introduced a number of cutting-edge products it has developed which will provide a smooth transition from 4G to 5G. Infinera Corporation, a multinational organization which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a market leader in providing Intelligent Transport Networks.

The organization officially announced via a statement issued to the press that it has expanded its Mobile Fronthaul and Mobile Backhaul Solutions in an effort to support mobile operators as their networks prepare to evolve in order to become 5G ready.

Some of the new products introduced by Infinera include a range of Fronthaul Flexponders and a new addition to their Mobile Backhaul portfolio. However, Infinera also packaged existing equipment that they are able to use in a pre 5G testing environment. Jon Baldry, Marketing Director of Infinera’s Metro Business Unit, explained the benefits and value proposition of the new products developed by the company.

Baldry said: “The value proposition is built around three main attributes of these products - which are flexibility, high performance and openness. The underlying benefit for mobile or wholesale operators of these attributes is protection investment as they bid to enjoy a smooth evolution to 5G. This enables them to build 4G infrastructure today and enjoy a smooth evolution to 5G avoiding rip and replace 4G hardware when they make the move to 5G.”

Marketing Director of Infinera’s Metro Business unit, outlined some of the big changes that will occur when 5G is adopted, although conceded it was difficult to predict when 5G will be fully integrated across the board.

Baldry said: “One of the big things that will happen with 5G compared to 4G is a massive increase in bandwidth. Low Latency is always important in mobile networks and in 5G it is driven by new applications and things like mobile edge computing and similar trends. Fronthaul becomes more pervasive in 5G. Both 5G and 4G are open in the sense of being RAN vendor agnostic, but there will be a much bigger drive in openness in terms of SDN control.”

One of the really big changes is if you look at 2G to 3G – 3G to 4G – typically that kind of migration is simply replacing one network with another – the move to 5G will be using the current 4G infrastructure.

Baldry continued: “The move to 5G will see the continued use of the 4G infrastructure, so there will be new 5G infrastructure that will be put out in the field, the LTE specifications will continue to evolve - in fact the 3GPP is starting work on 5G and anticipates that LTE will continue to mature alongside the 5G standardization. 4G infrastructure needs to coexist with 5G infrastructure, and subsequently there will be a lot of new 5G infrastructure – but the 4G infrastructure will be a key part of how you build a 56 network.”

Principal Analyst, Mobile Networks and 5G at Heavy Reading, Gabriel Brown expects the new technology provided by Infinera to play a key in 5G – but he pointed out some of the challenges faced by operators, pointing to the uncertainty about the functional split in the 5G RAN. Brown said: “Among the challengers operators face are diverse implementation options and uncertainty about the functional split in the 5G RAN, making it critical that high performance fronthaul transport solutions are sufficiently flexible that they can be upgraded, in software, to meet future requirements.”

Jon Baldry said the next big step for Infinera in the transport space is the jump to 5G, but the key thing is while operators are looking at the options for a move to fronthaul now - they’re going to need that flexibility today in order to migrate to 5G without having to rip and replace that transport network.

CTO Metro Business Group at Infinera, Sten Nordell, stated that the radio network requires radical transformation to new 5G infrastructure. “The mobile industry is on the cusp of a step change to 5G, while the radio network needs to radically transform to the new 5G infrastructure and services, the underlying transport network requires a seamless evolution that protects operator investment now.”

He added the organization has begun working with key industry players in order to enable pre-5G networks to be tested against high-performance transport networks and will demonstrate this at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month.

To address these challenges, Infinera has introduced fully open and flexible solutions to extend mobile transport evolution to 5G and Baldry believes the new products launched by Infinera - offer a level of flexibility that none of their competition can compete with. He concluded by saying: “To the best of our knowledge from what we’ve seen in the market nobody else has this level of flexibility that we can offer.”

About the New Open Mobile Transport Solutions launched by Infinera

  • Infinera 5G-ready Mobile Fronthaul Solution 

Adding a new range of flexponders for mobile fronthaul provides mobile operators with deployment flexibility via rack-mounted unit, hardened access unit and hardened clamshell options. Mobile operators also benefit from functional flexibility in which all units are fully reconfigurable to operate as transponders, as muxponders, or in hybrid mode, a level of flexibility that Infinera believes is unique to the industry.

The flexponders enable service flexibility with support for Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) and Open Base Station Architecture Initiative (OBSAI) mobile fronthaul protocols and Ethernet in both 4G and 5G environments. The flexponder features are coupled with the high-performance capabilities required for mobile fronthaul, such as low latency, superior synchronization and new fronthaul-specific capabilities including real-time delay compensation that enables better support for RAN in fiber protection scenarios.

  • Infinera Packet-Optical Mobile Backhaul Solution

Infinera’s Mobile Backhaul Solution now includes a new EMXP Access Unit that extends Infinera’s range of packet-optical transport switches to hardened environments such as street and cell site cabinets. The new unit supports a common software and feature set with the rest of the EMXP range, which includes Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) services, low latency, superior Synchronous Ethernet and 1588v2 synchronization and sophisticated network resilience options. 

  • Infinera Open Architecture

Infinera’s Mobile Fronthaul and Backhaul Solutions are designed to be fully open to support SDN control by any orchestrator and offer the ability to transport any radio vendor’s equipment. For mobile backhaul, the full range of Infinera’s EMXP units now also supports a direct Openflow interface, controlled by Infinera’s Xceed Software Suite. This provides a multi-layer SDN control platform and SDN applications.

 

Apple has joined a technology industry alliance which aims to establish the best practices for the opportunities and challenges faced within the field of AI. Apple joins Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind who last year established the non-profit organization which they called ‘Partnership on AI’.

In a statement issued by the Partnership on AI group, they formally announced Apple’s participation within the research organization as they became the sixth founding member. It further disclosed in the statement that Apple had been involved in a consultancy capacity with the partnership prior to its formal launch in September last year. It was also revealed that the partnership will host its inaugural board meeting in San Francisco in February.

The collaboration between the major tech companies involved in this partnership have stated that in addition to establishing the best practices for the opportunities and challenges of AI- they have also expressed their desire to address issues including privacy, interoperability and collaboration between people and AI systems.

The statement read, “Apple has been involved and has been collaborating with the partnership since before it was first announced and we’re thrilled to formalize its membership. Major technology firms have joined forces in this group and have stated aims including cooperation on "best practices" for AI and using the technology to benefit people and society.”

The partnership was established following concerns raised that new AI efforts could potentially spin out of control and ultimately end up being severely detrimental to society. The collaboration between the tech firms will see them embark on research, the recommendation of best practices, and will publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy and interoperability.

According to the statement, It will seek to examine the collaboration between people and AI systems which will test the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology.

Tech companies have already invested heavily in creating software in order to help machines think more like people – ideally acting as virtual assistants who get to know how users and attempt to try and anticipate their needs and requirements.

In 2015, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and SpaceX founder participated in the establishment of a nonprofit research company named Open AI which was devoted to developing AI that would help people and not hurt them. However, he became embroiled in controversy within the technology world by stating that AI could turn on humanity and be its ruin instead of a salvation.

A concern expressed by Musk was that highly advanced artificial intelligence would be left to its own devices, or in the hands of a few people, to the detriment of civilization as a whole.

People joining tech company executives on the Partnership board included Dario Amodei of Open AI along with members of the American Civil Liberties Union; the MacArthur Foundation, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Published in Internet of Things

A CEO of the UK’s largest mobile network operator has devised and unveiled a four-point plan to counteract what he describes as ‘incorrect expectations’ set by the UK mobile industry around coverage. EE, a division of the BT group - are not only the largest mobile network operator in the UK with around 28 million customers – but they are also the largest operator of 4G services in Europe.

However, EE CEO, Marc Allera has outlined his action plan, and has furthermore said the standard metric for gauging the quality of a mobile network through population coverage ultimately set the wrong expectations.

The charismatic CEO said: “Population coverage has always been the standard metric for gauging the quality of a mobile network, but we need to change this with a greater focus on geography. We have become a little lazy. Population coverage figures set the wrong expectations.”

“There is now an assumption from customers that 95 percent population coverage means ubiquitous coverage but it’s only equivalent to 54 percent geographic coverage. The mismatch is particularly significant when the industry is moving towards connected cars.”

He also raised serious concerns over a process whereby network quality is still judged on voice and SMS – when it’s clear the demand for usage has dramatically switched towards data. He revealed that he has written to UK regulator Ofcom in which he highlighted his concerns – but also submitted a four point proposal to address the issues at hand.

Allera said: “My four points are as follows, firstly we want the industry to stop talking about population coverage in isolation – it’s misleading.”

“Secondly, the operators want the industry to provide regular updates of coverage at local level not just national figures and of data speeds too not just voice and text.”

“Thirdly we want to make Ofcom the home of independent monitoring and an accepted authority on coverage – and finally, the industry needs to explain to users that not all devices are adjusted for all spectrum bands, which impacts user experience.”

EE prides itself on being the market leader on coverage, so industry support for such a plan would be very much to its benefit.

Currently (November 2016), EE offers 99 percent population coverage, which is equivalent to 75 percent geographic coverage. That’s an increase from 94 percent population coverage (and 54 percent geographic) in December 2015.

The operator’s goal is to hit 95 percent geographic coverage by 2020. It is testing drones, balloons and satellites as it looks at the most cost.

Published in Telecom Operators

Facebook has specifically developed a censorship tool in order to try and force its way back into China. The social network empire was banned in China following the violence that broke out in Urumqi in July, 2009. The Chinese government took the decision to ban Facebook – after they established that many Xinjiang independence activists were using the social network to organise other activists.

There was also a theory or belief on the ground in China that Facebook would not succeed in the region following Google’s problems in China over the contentious issue of censorship. However, Facebook are desperate to get back into China and in order meet its censorship requirements, Facebook has built a tool which is specifically designed to filter news feeds in specific geographical locations.

The New York Times have reported that three current and former Facebook employees revealed to them that the tool had been developed as part of Facebook’s strategy to get back into China.

When the question was put to Facebook, a representative for the organization remained coy on the subject – but did admit they were interested in China. The spokesperson said, “We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country. “However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China."

Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has tried to rebuild Facebook’s relationship with Chinese leaders, and spent years learning Mandarin. He visited China recently and that sparked rumours that he was pitching their new product in an effort to re-enter the market there.

The censorship tool could also combat some of Facebook’s other issues – with the company being blasted for a spike in the amount of ‘fake’ news stories going viral on its platform. Facebook has already restricted content in a whole host of countries according to a recent transparency report by a Californian-based company.

Facebook has worked closely with Russian authorities to ensure it doesn’t violate the integrity of the Russian federation and local law which forbids activities such as mass public riots and the promotion and sale of drugs.  There have also been similar examples in France and Pakistan.

U.S. internet companies have a practice of complying with legitimate government requests to block posted information in keeping with local laws, subject to evaluation. The New York Times suggested that the tool created in China would prevent posts from happening instead of waiting on government authorities to request to have them removed once they’ve been posted.

It is reported that Facebook may give the tool to a third-party based in China to decide what shows up in newsfeeds. Censorship software was just one of many ideas Facebook has as it tries to get back into China, according to the New York Times report.

Published in Government