Displaying items by tag: technology

Germany to hold 5G frequency auction

Written on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 06:18

Germany’s attempt to catch up with the digital era starts this week when the auction for airwaves to build ultra fast 5G wireless networks will begin.

This technology is crucial at the moment since Europe’s biggest economy seeks to transition from old-school engineering to catch up with the new digital age.

The country seems to be behind in the race of mobile network speeds compared to Qatar, Albania and Moldova.

Rubin Ritter, co-chief executive officer of Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer Zalando said, “Updating Germany’s digital infrastructure is very important. There are moments when customers have difficulties accessing our app.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government have promised to create new and advanced digital infrastructure. It expects an income worth around 5 billion Euros however the actual amount of the bill is difficult to predict at this moment in time.

They aim to allow family-owned manufacturers and corporate behemoths to digitize production processes and create data services.

The bidders comprise of current network operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica.

The auction starts on Tuesday and it comes with legal issues over the terms and conditions as well as pressure on the country’s government to Huawei equipment due to growing global security concerns.

On Friday, Huawei’s Western European chief told Business Daily Handelsblatt that they “would never build back doors into our devices or pass on data illegally.” He continued, “We would also be ready to sign a no-spy-agreement with the German government.”

5G technology guarantees super fast internet speed which is said to be able to download a full-length film in a matter of seconds.

The telecommunications industry, after experiencing a steady decline in share prices over the past few years, is hoping that this new technology will bring up new opportunities of communication such as holographic chats and potentially some fresh revenue streams into the industry.

Deutsche Telekom plans to invest 20 billion Euros in Germany over the next few years aiming to introduce high speed internet and 5G services. This investment levels caused many bidders to file lawsuits against the government’s conditions for the auction some of which included providing download speeds of 100 megabits per second to 98% of German homes, all highways and federal roads by the end of 2022.

A court eliminated the lawsuits so the auction can now carry on as planned.

“Driving with a car through Germany you lose your cellular connection every 5km. The network infrastructure we have right now in Germany is a big weakness,” said Stefan Brandl, chief executive officer of EBM-Papst.

Published in Telecom Operators

War of words between Spotify and Apple escalates

Written on Sunday, 17 March 2019 12:53

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple to the European Commission. Spotify claims that Apple gives itself an “unfair advantage at every turn” as it takes a 30 per cent cut of digital goods sold via iOS apps.

Published in Apps

Manx Telecom accepts £255m acquisition cash offer

Written on Thursday, 14 March 2019 10:57

Manx Telecom has announced that it has received a takeover offer worth £255m pounds from Basalt Infrastructure Partners LLP.

Published in Telecom Operators

House of Lords call for new centralized Digital Regulator

Written on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 08:16

The House of Lords has called for a new central digital super-regulator to be created in order to inspect the different bodies protecting the internet and to replace the ‘clearly failing’ system of self regulation in place.

The Lords’ communications committee report has recommended a new Digital Authority. The report warns that the contribution of several regulators for the digital realm can be more problematic than helpful as it creates overlaps and gaps.

The report also states that large tech companies have failed to tackle cybersecurity issues and Ofcom should, in the future, expand their services to involve implementing a duty of care on those companies.

Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chair of the committee, stated: “The government should not just be responding to news headlines but looking ahead so that the services that constitute the digital world can be held accountable to an agreed set of principles.”

He continued: “Self-regulation by online platforms is clearly failing and the current regulatory framework is out of date. The evidence we heard made a compelling and urgent case for a new approach to regulation. Without intervention, the largest tech companies are likely to gain ever more control of technologies which extract personal data and make decisions affecting people’s lives.”

The Lords said that the new Digital Authority should be guided by 10 guiding principles pertaining to online regulation. Some of these basic principles include: transparency, parity, recognition of childhood, accountability, privacy and human rights.

Last month, a Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee held Facebook responsible for being run by “digital gangsters” and as a result, recommending that tech and social media companies could regulate themselves independently under a ‘code of ethics’ which could be overseen by Ofcom.

The report by the Lords echoed this sentiment. It stated that self-regulation from internet behemoths from the likes of Google and Facebook were “clearly failing”.

Lord Panteg wrote: “Policy makers across different sectors have not responded adequately to changes in the digital world.”
He added: "The Digital Authority should be empowered to instruct regulators to address specific problems or areas. In cases where this is not possible because problems are not within the remit of any regulator, the Digital Authority should advise the Government and Parliament that new or strengthened legal powers are needed.”

The report recommends many changes to already existing regulations whether the Digital Authority is created or not. An example of these proposed changes is the public interest test for mergers and acquisitions which would protect peoples’ data from being bought and sold with no prior consent from the individual.

Additionally, the report recognizes the power which this new Digital Authority would hold and justified it by stating: “This is necessary because of the magnitude of urgent social and political problems caused by regulatory fragmentation in the digital world. These problems are less likely to become more complex as technology develops.”

Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook were not held in high regard amongst the Lords, especially in the report.

It concluded, “Major platforms have failed to invest in their moderation systems, leaving moderators overstretched and inadequately trained. Online platforms should make community standards clearer through a new classification framework akin to that of the British Board of Film Classification.”

Published in Government

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

Trump reconsiders 5G nationalization plan

Written on Thursday, 07 March 2019 08:04

US president Donald Trump revisited a previous plan to nationalize 5G in the US after it had been previously scrapped in 2018 due to industry backlash.

President Donald Trump’s 2020  re-election campaign backtracked on the prospect of 5G wireless technology after it seemed to contradict the White House’s administration policy.

Trump’s admin began to discuss this prospect in January 2018 in an attempt to one-up their main competitor, China.

Politico reported that this plan would ensure the government have full control over the 5G spectrum to create a wholesale market where operators could buy capacity.

“A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underseved,” said Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign to Politico on Friday. She added “this is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”

The resurgence of the campaign put it in an unfavorable position with White House administration officials who have been adamant on dropping the original plan of a free market approach after the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Ajit Pai’s,  criticism against the matter.

5G technology is not yet readily available for the public.

Axios reported that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, believes that promoting a nationalized system could potentially general more votes from citizens in rural areas who want faster internet.

According to Business Insider, 5G is “next generation, super-fast wireless technology [which] has become a real, tangible thing that people can actually use.. Right now, only a tiny number of eople across a very limited spread of locations have access to 5G. For most of us, 5G is still a mystery, full of tantalizing promise but few details.”

Some members of the Trump administration such as Larry Kuldow, are wary of the nationalization of 5G as it would mean that private companies like Verizon and AT&T would be able to build it out.

Last month, trump expressed his concerns about 5G and its dominance by telling US operators to “step up their efforts” and criticized them for “lagging behind on something that is so obviously the future.”

As an attempt to reiterate his opposition to the prospect of network nationalization, Pai reposted a tweet from January 2018 which stated “The market, not the government, is best-positioned to drive innovation and investment.”

Similarly, some FCC commissioners such as Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr both expressed their opposition to the idea on social media while others even went as far as comparing it as a “China-like nationalization” of 5G networks.

In early February, Trump tweeted:

“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”

“I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.

“We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”

Published in Government

Internet behemoth Google deemed the overhaul of the bloc’s online copyright law to be damaging for Europe for “decades to come” as it urged the European parliament to resist its approval.

European lawmakers have until next week to vote on the landmark legislation. This legislation that is aimed at modernizing copyright for the digital age has caused a lobbying war in Brussels.

This reform has been debated for the past few years by EU member states, tech giants and artistic creators. Google has tried to approach MEPs to discourage the law from being passed this month.

The biggest issue as of yet is the request for illegal content to be deleted off YouTube (owned by Google) and various other platforms using automatic filters otherwise, there would be liable.

According to Google’s senior Vice President of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, the reform “creates vague, untested requirements” that would mean that many websites would end up “over-blocking content”.

“This would be bad for creators and users who will see online services wrongly block content simple because they need to err on the side of caution and reduce legal risks,” he said.

The “unintended consequences” could potentially “hurt Europe’s creative economy for decades to come” he added.

Another issue is the provision to devise “neighboring rights” for media publishers.

News organizations are in favor of this legislation to be passed because they feel that tech giants such as Facebook have made billions from advertising that is very often tied to news stories, while the publishing industry suffers.

In reference to the implications of this planned reform on the publishing industry, Walker said that it “hurts small and emerging publishers, and limits consumer access to a diversity of news sources.”

He warned: “Under the directive, showing anything beyond mere facts, hyperlinks and ‘individual words and very short extracts’ would be restricted.”

Due to the controversy around the issue, the outcome of the vote remains uncertain.

Published in Infrastructure

ZTE, a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, is demonstrating 5G network services based on an end-to-end sub-6GHz commercial system, in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

The live demonstration verifies ZTE and Qualcomm Technologies’ strong 5G technology capabilities to achieve end-to-end 5G commercialization.

The demonstration over 5G NR radio utilizes a real-world end-to-end 5G NR network built with ZTE’s commercial core network and radio base station equipment, as well as a ZTE 5G smartphone powered by the world’s first commercial 5G mobile platform—the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855Mobile Platform paired with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, as well as Qualcomm Technologies’ RF transceiver and RF front-end solutions. Fully compliant with 3GPP R15, the demonstration is based on NSA networking mode, the N78 5G band and harnesses the LTE B1 band as an access anchor.

For this demonstration, ZTE provides a comprehensive end-to-end solution, including the One for All base station platform solution at the wireless side to support 2G/3G/4G/5G on a single site as well as multimode baseband units (BBU) that provide the maximum 2G/3G/4G/5G processing capacity and is the largest number of interfaces in the industry.

Furthermore, the demonstration adopts ZTE’s “Common Core” core network with a full convergence of 2G/3G/4G/5G/fixed networks and UME, a converged network management solution for intelligent operation and maintenance.

"The collaboration between ZTE and Qualcomm Technologies at MWC 2019, on the demonstration of 5G services based on ZTE’s 5G mobile device and system, is a testament to our efforts for 5G commercialization,” said Xu Ziyang, CEO at ZTE. “It indicates a great step towards making 5G a commercial reality.” 

“The 5G NSA live demo at MWC, based on the commercial infrastructure from ZTE using Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G modem and RF front-end, gives us a glance of 5G user experiences expected on commercial devices in 2019,” said Frank Meng, chairman of Qualcomm China. “We look forward to continuing working with ZTE and other leading companies across the ecosystem in accelerating the rollout of 5G networks and devices.”

In the process of promoting 5G commercialization, ZTE has been actively working with industry partners on the verification of key technologies and solutions, as well as network deployments. ZTE is also leading in test progress and performance. Backed up with 5G tests and cooperation with more than 30 operators around the world, ZTE is ready for the upcoming 5G commercialization and rollouts.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei was in defiant mood during an exclusive interview with the BBC in which he declared that the world cannot do without Huawei and its cutting-edge technology and innovations.

Huawei has been subjected to intense scrutiny and scathing criticism as the US continues its efforts to blacklist the Chinese vendor from participating in the rollout of 5G networks on a global scale.

The Huawei CEO claims Huawei has become the victim of a politically motivated campaign by the US as part of its ongoing trade war with China. He blasted the US for attempting to blacklist the company but vowed that the US will not stop Huawei and insisted that the world needs its ‘advanced technology’ 

Zhengfei told the BBC, “There's no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced."

He also denounced the arrest of his daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada in December, but said he was confident that the courts will find exonerate her after she was accused of violating trade sanctions with Iran.

There is now a growing resistance towards the US campaign against Huawei with many operators in Europe voicing their concerns that a blanket ban on the Chinese vendor would not only be costly, but would also significantly delay the deployment of 5G networks on the continent.

In addition to this, the UK government has said it can mitigate the risk from using Huawei equipment in the buildout of its 5G networks, which suggests they will not ban Huawei like Australia and New Zealand. However, New Zealand look set to backtrack on that decision following the resistance in Europe.

Zhengfei fired a parting shot at the US during his BBC interview by saying the US doesn’t represent the world.

He said, “If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. America doesn't represent the world. Even if they persuade some more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always downsize and become smaller."

Published in Telecom Vendors
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