Displaying items by tag: UK

UK set to phase Huawei out of 5G networks

Written on Tuesday, 07 July 2020 05:05

Britain is set to phase out Huawei equipment from its 5G mobile networks this year, the U.K. press has reported. If so, it marks a major U-turn in the government’s position on the Chinese telecommunications giant.

The government is drawing up plans to strip Huawei gear from Britain’s next-generation networks by the end of the year, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph newspapers reported. 

It comes after London said in January that Huawei could play a limited role in Britain’s 5G networks, a move which angered the U.S. as it sought to get other countries to block the Chinese company.

Washington maintains that Huawei is a national security risk, alleging its equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claim. 

The apparent policy reversal was driven by a new report from a branch of British intelligence agency GCHQ that raised new security fears over Huawei following U.S. moves to cut off the Chinese firm from key chips.

China's ambassador to Britain has warned that London faced a risk to its international reputation if it blocked Huawei from the nation's 5G network.

The Financial Times said the government will decide this month to phase out the Chinese technology giant's equipment because of persistent concerns about spying.

A UK security investigation, yet to be published, has raised "very, very serious" questions over Huawei's limited 5G role in Britain, the newspaper added.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said separately he had received the National Cyber Security Centre report and there would be a "significant" impact on Huawei's 5G role.

But Beijing's top envoy in London, Liu Xiaoming, described Huawei's involvement as a "win-win" for both the company and UK-China relations.

"We have tried our best to tell the story of Huawei but we can't control the British government decision," he told a news conference.

However he warned that if Huawei was rejected, it could impact Britain's international standing and erode the trust of other existing or potential overseas investors.

He suggested it would be an example of Britain succumbing to "foreign pressure", in a clear reference to Washington's position on Huawei.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under intense pressure from the US, and members of his own ruling Conservative Party, to cut ties with Huawei.

US officials argue that the company could spy on Western communications or simply shut down the UK network under orders from Beijing - a charge the company denies.

Huawei's position has been complicated further by Washington's decision to roll out a new wave of sanctions to cripple the company's production of the chips used in 5G.

The FT said Johnson was drawing up plans to remove the Huawei technology from Britain's 5G network after warnings that the US sanctions could curtail the company's access to American semiconductors and force it to use riskier supplies.

Ambassador Liu rejected claims China was a "hostile country".

"We want to be your friend, we want to be your partner but if you want to make China a hostile country you have to bear the consequences," he added.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Huawei said it will invest $1.2 billion in a chip research and manufacturing center in Britain that has been strongly opposed by the United States.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Verizon unveils first 5G lab in the UK

Written on Thursday, 13 February 2020 12:53

Verizon has opened a new 5G Lab and production studio in London – the company’s first 5G-enabled facility outside the United States – to support its international business and media customers. The Lab, which is now open for business, is based at Verizon’s Mid City Place office in central London, and offers a live Verizon 5G-enabled environment where organizations can develop and test 5G applications and experiences.

US operator Verizon sought to extend its 5G reach beyond its home market, opening a laboratory in the UK where it can experiment and share ideas for next generation use cases with international partners. European investment enables Verizon to more easily share 5G leadership and expertise with companies based outside the U.S.

Verizon’s 5G Labs are designed to offer technology innovators a space to grow the 5G ecosystem. Start-ups, academics, companies and organizations work with Verizon in the Labs to explore the boundaries of 5G network technology, co-create new applications and hardware, and rethink what’s possible in a 5G world. The potential use cases include exploring how autonomous vehicles, smart communities, virtual healthcare, smart manufacturing, the industrial Internet of Things, immersive education, augmented and virtual reality and responsive gaming can be enhanced with 5G's super fast speeds, massive bandwidth and low latency.

Verizon’s London Lab enables the company to share its experience and expertise in 5G-enabled application delivery with companies based outside the U.S. Organizations visiting the Lab can see existing 5G use cases and experiences in action, and can also work with the Verizon team to develop 5G-enabled applications. 

“Verizon has proven expertise in delivering 5G in the U.S.,” said Tami Erwin, Group CEO, Verizon Business. “One of the best ways of unleashing the true possibilities of 5G is getting it into the hands of innovators and visionaries. Our London facility enables our international customers to benefit from this expertise as they look to deploy 5G-enabled applications and experiences.”

The London Lab showcases a selection of 5G-enabled use cases across a number of different verticals, including advertising and entertainment, education, manufacturing, medical, retail, utilities and venues. These include a mobile command center, an augmented shopping experience and smart retail shelving, intelligent asset management and AR-enabled workspace reimagining. 

In addition, Verizon will open a 5G-enabled production studio in London in April 2020 to complement the 5G Lab facility. The studio will offer a space where Verizon Media’s owned and operated brands, as well as its partners and customers, can produce premium quality, 3D content including virtual and augmented reality experiences using state-of-the-art facilities like volumetric capture, motion capture and AR broadcast.  It is also 5G-enabled, providing an incubator space for innovative creative companies to test and learn about how they can build content in the future that benefits from its capabilities to transmit massive amounts of data almost instantaneously.

Guru Gowrappan, CEO, Verizon Media said: “Our 5G Studio, powered by RYOT’s platform, in Los Angeles was the world’s first 5G production studio when it opened last year, and now we are opening a new studio in London, offering all the same incredible next-generation content production facilities and platform. The new London studio represents our continued commitment to give our consumers access to premium next-generation experiential content across our global ecosystem of brands. As we move from a 2D world into a world that includes 3D content, Verizon Media is providing our publishers and advertisers access to a cutting-edge technology platform, giving them the ability to experiment with 5G, and providing the means to distribute them at scale.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Huawei awaits approval for role in UK’s 5G network

Written on Monday, 27 January 2020 13:50

Despite opposition from the United States, Britain is to yet to decide on a potential role for China's Huawei in developing its 5G telecoms network. However, reports say this will be in a limited capacity after heavy US obstruction on security grounds.

"The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted as Washington continued to heap pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson up to the last minute in urging a complete sidelining of Huawei.

However a senior UK official last week strongly hinted at a green light for Huawei, while the Financial Times over the weekend reported that Johnson was Tuesday "expected to approve a restricted role".UK ministers are said to be looking to impose a cap on Huawei's market share in the project.

There has meanwhile been widespread speculation that Britain would allow Huawei into "non-core" elements of 5G networks, such as antennae and base stations attached to masts and roofs. The core carries out essential functions such as authenticating subscribers and sending voice and data between devices and is sometimes described as the "brains" or "heart" of a network.

The United States has banned Huawei from the rollout of its next generation 5G mobile networks because of concerns that the firm could be under the control of Beijing. Huawei strongly deny this claim.

Washington has been lobbying Britain to do the same, even threatening to limit intelligence sharing between the two allies should the UK go its own way. Britain has moved to downplay US security fears.

The UK official pointed out that unlike the United States, Britain has been using Huawei technology in its systems for the past 15 years. UK security agencies believe they have managed the risk so far and will be able to do so with the 5G network.

The 5G technology offers almost instantaneous data transfer and is seen as key for technologies such as self-driving cars and remotely operated factory robots.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Virgin signs 5G mobile deal with Vodafone UK

Written on Thursday, 07 November 2019 07:17

Virgin Media has agreed a five-year mobile deal with Vodafone to bring innovating new services to customers in the UK. The deal includes bringing 5G to around three million mobile users and will allow Virgin Media further flexibility to grow its mobile operation.

The new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement, which runs until 2026, will see Vodafone supply wholesale mobile network services, including both voice and data, to Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media Business. Virgin Media will have full access to all of Vodafone’s current services and future technologies, such as Vodafone’s expanding 5G network, enabling new product advancements and benefits for its customers.

Virgin Media’s current MVNO agreement with BT Enterprise, which has been in place since January 2017, will come to an end in late 2021, at which point Virgin Media’s mobile offering will transition to Vodafone. Virgin Mobile 5G services are set to launch on the Vodafone network before the transition takes place.

The cable group currently uses BT’s mobile network EE in a deal that runs until 2021. Virgin will also launch 5G services via the Vodafone network before that point. This comes as a blow to BT as it comes under pressure to spend billions upgrading full-fibre capability. The current deal costs Virgin £200m a year.

Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media CEO, said: “We’ve worked with BT to provide mobile services for many years and will continue to work together in a number of areas. We want our customers to have a limitless experience - it’s now the right time to take a leap forward with Vodafone to grow further and faster”

He added: “This agreement with Vodafone will bring a host of fantastic benefits and experiences to our customers, including 5G services in the near future.  Twenty years ago Virgin Mobile became the world’s first virtual operator and this new agreement builds on that heritage. It will open up a whole new world of opportunity for Virgin Media as we focus on becoming the most recommended brand for customers and bring our mobile and broadband connectivity closer together in one package for one price.”

Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO, said: “We are delighted that Virgin has recognised the huge investments we’ve made, and continue to make, in building the UK’s best mobile network and our role in challenging the market with new commercial services. As a result, they have chosen us to work with them in the next phase of their development.

Published in Telecom Operators

UK government to invest £30m in 5G tech for rural areas

Written on Sunday, 01 September 2019 07:42

The UK government has decided to invest £30 million to install 5G technology in rural areas in an effort to spark a ‘tech revolution” within the country.

Published in Government

Two leading vendors are behind Vodafone’s 5G launch

Written on Friday, 05 July 2019 06:40

Vodafone announced switching on 5G in seven UK cities, including London, in partnership with Ericsson. This step puts the UK among the first to launch the fifth generation technology and sheds light on how Europe is lagging behind because of regulations.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Vodafone’s network was down across Europe on Thursday with thousands of customers unable to use the internet or make phone calls.

Issues began at around 14:42 BST according to network monitor Down detector. Customers all over the UK reported issues and so did customers in Spain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece and Portugal.

Many customers took to Twitter to express their frustration on the matter.

Vodafone then acknowledged the outage and tweeted, “We are currently investigating a potential outage to our fixed and mobile services. We thank you for your patience as we work to get this resolved.”

The company has around 19.5 million UK customers and around 444 million globally.

Initially, it looked more like an isolated issue with customers in some UK cities thought to have been among those affected; however, Economics Correspondent Paul Cogan at Virgin Media TV noticed that Down Detector showed more maps with even more outages.

He stated, “Vodafone’s problems don’t seem to be restricted to just Europe. Down Detector outage maps show problems in India, Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.”

The global disruption was then confirmed when Vodafone Ghana tweeted, “Vodafone Ghana wishes to apologize for the intermittent network challenges experienced by some of our mobile customers. Resolving it remains our topmost priority. We shall keep you updated. Thanks for your patience.”

Vodafone then apologized for the inconvenience and said the services were back to normal. “This issue has now been fully resolved and normal service has been restored to customers. We thank you for your patience and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

The network outage comes a month after Vodafone set its launch date for its new 5G network in seven UK cities.

The company last experienced an outage in October 2018.

Published in Telecom Operators

Juniper Networks to power BT unified cloud solution

Written on Sunday, 09 June 2019 10:58

Juniper Networks has been chosen by British Telecommunications (BT) to deliver its Network Cloud infrastructure initiative.

This deployment will pave the way for BT’s Network Cloud roll-out - and also enable a more flexible, virtualized network infrastructure that can deliver the technology requirements of various lines of business for BT from a single platform.

BT will also use this platform to create new and exciting converged services bringing mobile, Wi-Fi, and fixed network services together. Furthermore, with the implementation of the Network Cloud infrastructure, BT will be able to combine a range of currently discrete network functions and deploy them on a cloud infrastructure that is built to a common framework and shared across the organization, throughout the UK and globally.

These include services across BT’s voice, mobile core and radio/access, global services, ISP, TV and IT services, as well as a host of internal applications, thereby cutting operational expenditure and significantly simplifying operations throughout the organization.

This project will enable BT to implement a range of new applications and workloads and evolve the majority of its current ones including:

  • Converged fixed and mobile services rollout to consumers and businesses.
  • Faster time-to-market for network services ranging from internet access delivery to TV and business network functions
  • Improved voice and video delivery and scalability.

To accomplish the evolution toward a more agile, virtualized network, BT is investing in a range of Juniper solutions across various tenants within the BT network, including:

  • Dynamic end-to-end networking policy and control for telco cloud workloads using Contrail Networking
  • Cloud operations management using AppFormix
  • Highly scalable and flexible spine and leaf underlay fabric using the QFX Series

Neil McRae, Chief Architect at BT said, “BT is a global leader in ultrafast services, with growing demand from our ultrafast broadband services and ultrafast 5G services and has the perfect opportunity to combine several discrete networks into a unified, automated infrastructure. This move to a single cloud-driven network infrastructure will enable BT to offer a wider range of services, faster and more efficiently to customers in the UK and around the world. We chose Juniper to be our trusted partner to underpin this Network Cloud infrastructure based on the ability to deliver a proven solution immediately, so we can hit the ground running. Being able to integrate seamlessly with other partners and solutions and aligning with our roadmap to an automated and programmable network is also important.” 

“As a renowned global service provider, BT is a shining example of how to evolve networks to become more agile. By leveraging the ‘beach-front property’ it has in central offices around the globe, BT can optimize the business value that 5G’s bandwidth and connectivity brings. The move to an integrated telco cloud platform brings always-on reliability, along with enhanced automation capabilities, to help improve business continuity and increase time-to-market while doing so in a cost-effective manner,” said Bikash Koley, Chief Technology Officer at Juniper Networks.

Published in Telecom Operators

Huawei founder denies ties to Chinese government

Written on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 11:41

The founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei said that he would “shut the company down” if the Chinese government asked them to eavesdrop on phone call conversations, according to a senior executive.

Published in Telecom Vendors
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