Displaying items by tag: Telecommunications

eSOC platform to improve services for 32 million UK customers

Written on Thursday, 17 January 2019 08:20

Spanish telecom Telefonica has partnered with Nokia to deploy the Service Operation Centre (eSOC) platform in the UK. It is expected to improve customer experience and enable real-time monitoring services for its 32 million subscribers across its network.

The eSOC move was described as another step on its “customer-centricity journey” by Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at Telefonica O2 UK. It will focus on providing enhanced, tailored services to individual customers and allowing the company to make customer-led decisions. The eSOC platform provides a flexible way to interface with O2 UK’ s systems and data sources, while allowing the operator to monitor customer experiences and take recommended actions based on measured trends.  

Nokia has integrated a range of automation techniques into the eSOC, which incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning insights, allowing its operator partners to optimise their operations. The vendor will provide support to Telefonica from its SOC Office Consultancy on the re-engineering process required, with the service set to go live in Q4.

SOCs will allow the company to connect many systems and tools, such as Self Organising Networks (SON), to “allow us to make real-time decisions on our network”.

Tim Smith, VP of Nokia Software Europe said Nokia can help operators like Telefonica pounce on the advantages offered by 5G and bring services to market more quickly and with most operator services hard-coded across BSS, OSS and the network layer, it can take up to 14 months to launch a new service.

“If it takes you that long to launch a new service, how can you take advantage of all the digital opportunities 5G enables? You need to get to a very rapid release cycle to really exploit 5G. If you could do that in days or weeks, you can gain market share and increase profit.”

O’Reilly said the flexibility offered by SOC was another reason why the platform would be “vitally important” for the operator.

“By getting a launch timeline for new services down to days, the number of services we can offer our customers grows.”

“5G brings a huge amount of opportunities, and service isn’t going to be traditional as we know it today. Today, it is service from a tablet or a phone. In the future it can be cars and connected devices and the service we provide becomes more important, where some part of the human element is taken away.”

Telefonica has rolled out similar programmes in Germany, Chile and Argentina with different vendor partners.

Published in Telecom Vendors

US operator achieves 5G milestone in San Diego

Written on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 07:00

US telecommunications operator Sprint has achieved a 5G milestone following a pilot trial in the sun-kissed city of San Diego.

Sprint, which is owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank announced that it had completed a successful 5G OTA data transmission on its live network. Sprint CTO John Saw has expressed his delight at the success of the 5G project, and claims that it will provide a huge step forward in relation to the operators’ overall plans to launch next-generation services in the forthcoming months.

Sprint disclosed the details of the field test and revealed that it was conducted using 2.5GHz spectrum on the operators’ commercial network with radio equipment from Finnish vendor Nokia and a mobile test device from Qualcomm.

In addition to this, Sprint also disclosed that the trial demonstrated a successful handoff between 4G and 5G connectivity while streaming video, conducting Skype audio and video calls, and sending instant messages. Its test follows the completion of a 5G data transmission in a lab during December 2018. The operator earlier this week announced plans to release a Samsung 5G handset in 2019.

“Sprint 5G is now out of the lab and in the field as we prepare for our commercial launch in the first half of this year,” Saw said in a statement.

Nokia North America CTO Mike Murphy noted Sprint’s use of 2.5GHz spectrum for 5G will allow it to reuse existing 4G sites to provide both indoor and outdoor coverage: “This first standards-based call is thus a critical step towards Sprint’s offering of a 5G service to its customers.”

T-Mobile US recently claimed a similar milestone with what it said was the world’s first 5G data call and video call using 600MHz spectrum.

Published in Telecom Operators

Indian operator Reliance Communications has made a partial payment of $18.6m to Ericsson in an effort to defuse their ongoing dispute after the Swedish vendor had called for the imprisonment of its chairman Anil Ambani after the company’s failure to pay the entirety of the services charges owed.

In a statement released by RCom, it confirmed that it had deposited a payment of $18.6 with the Supreme Court registry from operational funds it had at its disposal. In addition to this, it said it was taking all required steps towards enabling a settlement.

The Indian conglomerate also stressed in the statement that it remained fully committed to making the outstanding payment to Ericsson, and said it would be able to do so with the proceeds of a spectrum asset sale to Reliance Jio.

Ericsson is owed $78.5m in unpaid service charges, but the dispute between the pair escalated when RCom failed to settle the service charge on the date it was instructed to by the Supreme Court. In response to this, Ericsson increased the pressure on the Indian firm by filing a second contempt of court case against Anil Ambani, and said he should be detained in civil prison until the outstanding amount is settled.

RCom, which has all but exited the Indian mobile market, missed the original 30 September deadline to make the payment, but was then granted a reprieve until 15 December, a deadline which it also missed.

The company argued it was unable to make the payment in time because of delays by regulator Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in approving its spectrum sale to Reliance Jio, a deal first struck in December 2017. RCom reached a deal to sell off the majority of its mobile assets to Reliance Jio after creditors, including Ericsson, took action against the company over huge debts.

Published in Telecom Vendors

US presidential hopeful blasts ZTE

Written on Sunday, 06 January 2019 10:04

Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE may well have had draconian measures that had crippled the company lifted by the US Department of Commerce following an intervention by President Donald Trump, but the narrative that ZTE is a threat to national security is refusing to subside.

US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren became the latest politician to take aim at the telecoms behemoth and strongly criticized US senator Joseph Lieberman for serving as a lobbyist for the powerful Chinese vendor.

The ability for Republicans and Democrats to work together to form new policies and legislation in the US Senate and House of Representatives has been at an all-time low during the Trump administration.

The decision by the US to ban ZTE and Huawei from being involved in the rollout of 5G networks has drew bipartisan approval with both Republicans and Democrats voicing their concerns that both companies close association to the Chinese government was a huge threat to domestic security.

Warren, who announced she’d be seeking the Democratic nomination for the US Presidential election in 2020, denounced the US senator for acting as a lobbyist for the Chinese telecommunications behemoth on Twitter.

Warren tweeted, “ZTE is a giant foreign telecoms company that’s close with the Chinese government. They’ve violated serious US sanctions in Iran and North Korea. Their lobbyists keep blocking accountability. And today former senator Joseph Lieberman joined them. Should that be legal? No.”

Warren is an outspoken politician and is known for being a firebrand. She has faced the wrath of US President Donald Trump who has repeatedly ridiculed her claims that she was Native American.

She said that there should be a lifetime ban on members of congress working as lobbyists to make sure they only serve the public. Warren added, “We need a ban on foreign lobbying so countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have to conduct their foreign policy out in the open.”

Bloomberg reported that Lieberman, who was a vice presidential nominee in 2000, began working for ZTE in November. According to a lobbying registration form submitted to the US Senate, he is conducting an assessment of the concerns members of the US Congress, the executive branch and US businesses have about national security risks around ZTE products.

The form also states Lieberman will not be advocating for ZTE, and he had been appointed in the interest of transparency and caution.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Japanese government bans Huawei and ZTE products

Written on Monday, 10 December 2018 07:54

The Japanese government has announced that it will ban telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE amidst fears about cybersecurity.

Published in Telecom Vendors

European telecommunications vendor Ericsson has compiled another comprehensive Mobility Report and the strategic forecast is projecting that 5G will reach 1.5bn subscriptions by 2024.

5G is expected to reach more than 40 percent global population coverage and 1.5 billion subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2024. This will make 5G the fastest generation of cellular technology to be rolled out on a global scale, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report.

Key drivers for 5G deployment include increased network capacity, lower cost per gigabyte and new use case requirements. North America and North East Asia are expected to lead the 5G uptake.

In North America, 5G subscriptions are forecast to account for 55 percent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024. In North East Asia, the corresponding forecast figure is more than 43 percent.
In Western Europe, 5G is forecast to account for some 30 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by end of 2024.

The uptake of NB-IoT and Cat-M1 technologies is driving growth in the number of cellular IoT connections worldwide. Of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia is expected to account for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the ambition and size of the cellular IoT market in this region. 

Diverse and evolving requirements across a wide range of use cases are prompting service providers to deploy both NB-IoT and Cat-M1 in their markets.

Mobile data traffic grew 79 percent between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018 – China a key engine
Mobile data traffic in Q3 2018 grew close to 79 percent year-on-year, which is the highest rate since 2013. Increased data-traffic-per-smartphone in North East Asia– mainly in China – has pushed the global figure notably higher.

With a traffic growth per smartphone of around 140 percent between end 2017 and end 2018, the region has the second highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3 gigabytes per month. This is comparable to streaming HD video for around 10 hours per month.

North America still has the highest data traffic per smartphone, set to reach 8.6 gigabytes per month by the end of this year – which can be compared to streaming HD video for over 12 hours monthly.

Ericsson claims that between the timeframe of 2018-2024, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a factor of five, with 5G networks projected to carry 25 percent of mobile traffic by the end of the period.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, says: “As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions are projected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. What we are seeing is the start of fundamental changes that will impact not just the consumer market but many industries.”
The Mobility report also features articles on fixed wireless access and how to make it a reality, streaming video from megabits to gigabytes, and developing the smart wireless manufacturing market.

Published in Telecom Vendors

TELUS reports strong financial results for Q3

Written on Sunday, 11 November 2018 09:00

TELUS Corporation today released its unaudited results for the third quarter of 2018. For the quarter, the operator consolidated operating revenue of $3.8 billion increased by 11 per cent over the same period a year ago.

This growth was driven by higher wireless network and equipment revenues, wireline services revenue growth and higher other operating income resulting from our share of the non-recurring equity income related to real estate joint ventures of $171 million arising from the sale of TELUS Garden. Excluding this equity income consolidated operating revenue increased by 5.8 per cent.

Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 8.2 per cent to $1.3 billion due to higher revenue growth as referenced above and improved wireless equipment margins.

This growth was partly offset by incremental employee benefits expense due to recent business acquisitions and increased costs to support our growing customer base. Adjusted EBITDA was up 6.4 per cent when excluding the net gain from the sale of TELUS Garden, as well as restructuring and other costs, which included our committed donation of $118 million to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation.

“TELUS reported strong operational and financial results for the third quarter, including robust customer growth across both the wireless and wireline segments of our business. This was buttressed by a continued excellent performance in wireless and wireline customer loyalty and lifetime revenue,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO. “Importantly, the TELUS team continues to achieve industry-leading postpaid wireless churn, and realized record third quarter high-speed Internet and TV retention levels. This performance was driven by our team’s relentless focus on providing exceptional customer experiences, and was anchored by the ongoing generational investments we are making in our leading broadband wireline and wireless networks, both of which are hallmarks of TELUS’ successful, long-term growth strategy.”

Mr. Entwistle added, “The efficacy of our broadband technology investments is reflected in TELUS, once again, being named as having the fastest mobile network in Canada by PCMag. This repeat acknowledgement builds on our outstanding record of achievement with respect to network excellence, having already earned the top spot in all major mobile networks reporting this year, including Ookla, J.D. Power and OpenSignal. These leading network rankings, each received consecutively for two or more years, reinforce the consistent superiority of TELUS’ broadband networks available to citizens across the country.

Mr. Entwistle further commented, “Our dividend increase announced today, on the back of our 41 per cent free cash flow growth, reflects the sixteenth increase since 2011, and is the fourth in our most recent three-year dividend growth program, targeting annual growth between seven and 10 per cent through 2019. This builds on our proven track record of providing investors with the industry’s best multi-year dividend growth program, which continues to generate significant value for our shareholders. Notably, TELUS has now returned $16 billion to shareholders, including $10.8 billion in dividends, representing $27 per share since 2004. We look forward to updating investors on the progression of this program at our 2019 annual general meeting.”

Doug French, Executive Vice-president and CFO said, “For the third quarter of 2018, TELUS delivered positive operational and financial results, reflecting the strength of our multiple product and valued service offerings, our commitment to customer service excellence and our network superiority. Our strategic capital investments are clearly paying off, as evidenced by our strong subscriber and loyalty results, and position us to maintain our network leadership as we progressively move towards the arrival of 5G.”

Mr. French added, “As we head into the seasonally important final quarter of 2018, we remain focused on executing against our strategy, amplifying our efforts on cost efficiency, focusing on margin accretive customer growth and investing to support our growth strategy. Today we are raising our full year 2018 assumption for restructuring and other costs, including an additional $50 million targeted towards further streamlining our business and enhancing our effectiveness in serving our growing customer base. This additional investment in restructuring, to be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018, is expected to deliver annual cost savings of more than $50 million beginning next year. Meanwhile, our net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio continues to improve, putting us in good position for 2019.”

Published in Telecom Operators

To support the accelerated build out of 5G in the United States, European telecommunications vendor Ericsson will increase its investment in the market. This series of strategic initiatives will allow Ericsson to operate even closer to its customers, meeting the growing demand for 5G globally and in the region.

The investments will fall into two categories: 1) increase research and development work done close to customers in the US and 2) increase flexibility to shorten the timeline for new product introduction and product delivery to customers. This will enable Ericsson to recruit new expertise from the US, complementing the company’s existing highly-skilled employees in the region.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, says: “The United States is our largest market, accounting for a quarter of Ericsson’s business over the last seven years. To serve the demand of these fast-moving service providers, we are strengthening our investment in the US to be even closer to our customers and meet their accelerated 5G deployment plans.”

Ericsson predicts that 5G subscriptions will reach the 150 million-mark, accounting for 48 percent of all mobile subscriptions in North America by the end of 2023.

Increase R&D in the US:

In late 2017, Ericsson opened the Austin ASIC Design Center in Austin, Texas, to focus on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations to accelerate the path to 5G commercialization. The 1,400-square-meter facility (15,000-square-feet) will have 80 employees once fully staffed.

Ericsson will also open a new software development center with baseband focus in 2018, employing more than 200 software engineers once fully operational. This facility and its employees will further strengthen Ericsson’s 5G software development. Baseband provides intelligence to the radio access network. It is also the interface between the core network and radio units, processing and forwarding voice calls and internet data to end users.

Beginning in 2019, both of these facilities will introduce 5G products and software features into the Ericsson portfolio, and will be available for customers globally, including in the US.

Additionally, Ericsson will increase its investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, employing around 100 specialists in North America by the end of 2018. This team will work on utilizing AI technologies to accelerate automation, examine product road maps and explore new business opportunities. They will focus on boosting the company’s current portfolio, strengthening customer engagements and promote innovation of new disruptive business opportunities.

New product introduction and manufacturing in the US:

To increase flexibility in bringing new products into the market, Ericsson will recruit a dedicated team to work specifically on introducing products for the US market, conducting production engineering, testing/integration and supply preparations on early prototypes. This will be done in close collaboration with US-based R&D resources.

To make 5G products available to customers as fast as possible, Ericsson will also begin manufacturing in the US in the fourth quarter of 2018. This will enable Ericsson to operate closer to customers -- providing volume production of next-generation radios and the fast introduction of new products into the US market. Initially, Ericsson will work with a production partner and the first radios for the US will be produced before the end of 2018.

Published in Telecom Vendors

European mobile operators have blasted the decision by the EU to place a price cap on intra-EU phone calls. The decision has been hailed by MEPs as a victory for Brussels, but critics of the decision have labelled it a populist stunt and a political smokescreen.

European operators said the decision was being used to deflect attention away from the failure by politicians in Brussels to agree on far more critical measures that are required to be implemented in order to facilitate the much-needed investment for 5G and other high-tech innovations.

Telecoms lobbying group ETNO said the European Commission had missed a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity. In a statement released to the press, ETNO said, “The main aim of the original proposal by the European Commission was to significantly improve the investment climate for rolling out new networks and to empower users of all communication service. This ‘once in a decade’ opportunity has been missed.”

This latest decision by the EC comes just twelve months after the ‘free roaming’ revolution which allowed Europeans to be charged the same amount to call, text, or use the internet when travelling in other EU nations as they would be at home.

In the latest measure, it has been disclosed that mobile or fixed-line phone calls from an EU home country to another bloc member will now be capped at 19 euro cents ($0.22) per minute and six cents per text message.

MEP, Pilar Del Castillo, who negotiated on behalf of the European Parliament, expressed his delight that the decision to put a price cap on calls was rubberstamped - and said companies should not be allowed to charge excessive fees to users when making calls to other EU member states.

He said, “We agree that companies cannot charge excessive fees to users when they call or send an SMS from their home country via mobiles or landlines to another EU Member State.  The cap came after 12 hours of talks between the EU Bulgarian Presidency, the European Commission and the European Parliament and will now need signing off by the bloc's 28 member states.

But the limit, which was part of a wide-ranging telecoms package, comes as an increasing share of inter-EU communication takes place via mobile apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage or Skype.

Published in Telecom Operators

Singapore regulator proposes scheme to protect telecom customers

Written on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 11:01

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched a public consultation to seek views on its proposed framework for the Telecommunication and Subscription TV Mediation-Adjudication Scheme which aims to introduce an alternative dispute resolution scheme for telecommunication and media services.

This proposal was first unveiled in August 2016 as part of the public consultation on amendments to the IMDA Act and Telecommunications Act, and is intended to supplement existing consumer protection measures and dispute resolution approach to meet rising public expectations for better customer care and service levels.

The Scheme aims to provide an alternative avenue for consumers and small businesses to resolve disputes with telecommunication and media service providers in a “fair, affordable, and effective manner,” while incentivizing faster resolution by the service providers.

IMDA is proposing a two-stage process for the Scheme: In the mediation stage, where the disputing parties agree on a resolution, the terms of settlement for the dispute will be recorded in a written agreement that is binding on both parties. In the adjudication stage, the adjudicated decision will be final and binding on the service provider if the consumer accepts it.

As the Scheme is intended to supplement and not replace existing complaint channels set out by service providers, consumers are to first approach their respective service providers to resolve any disputes before escalating unresolved disputes to the alternative dispute resolution body appointed by IMDA.

IMDA is also proposing to make it mandatory for certain telecommunication and media service providers to participate in the Scheme to ensure a more effective dispute resolution process for consumers and small businesses. Consumers, however, will have the flexibility to resolve their disputes through the Scheme or through other avenues such as the Small Claims Tribunal.

The Scheme is designed to cover widely-used telecommunication and media services, such as mobile, broadband and subscription TV services. It will also seek to address common disputes that are known to be consumer pain-points, such as disputes on billing or service quality that can usually be resolved through service recovery efforts, or compensated in kind of monetary terms.

Published in Government
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