Displaying items by tag: Vodafone
The US-led campaign against Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei is now facing resistance from a number of major European operators.
Washington has been engaged in a sustained offensive attack on China’s major telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE over the last number of years.
However, that has heightened in recent months, with the United States labelling Huawei and ZTE as a severe threat to national security. US President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order later this week which would prohibit both Chinese vendors from being involved in wireless networks in the US.
In addition to this, lobbyists on behalf of the US convinced its allies Australia and New Zealand to prevent either company from participating in the rollout of their respective 5G networks. The US is now pressuring Europe to follow suit. Earlier this week, comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added further fuel to the ongoing saga when he said that countries that use Huawei technology could hurt their relationship with the United States.
However, that has been met with resistance from major European operators who have discovered that they will have to fork out more to replace equipment from Huawei and ZTE, and that a blanket ban on both companies would significantly impact its ability to launch 5G services in the next twelve months, as Huawei is the global leader on 5G equipment.
A number of prominent executives from Europe’s top operators told The Wall Street Journal that Huawei hardware was much better than the rest on offer and often cost less; not using it could well mean that Europe would lag Asia and countries in other regions that use gear from Huawei for their 5G rollouts.
In addition to this, Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone Group, was quoted as saying in January that a total ban on the carrier's use of Huawei equipment “would have significant financial cost, would have significant customer disruption and would delay 5G rollout in several countries”. The UK's four major wireless operators — Vodafone, BT Group, Telefonica and CK Hutchison Holdings' Three — were all against a ban.
But it is not only big carriers who prefer Huawei equipment, with Jersey Telecom, a publicly-owned company operating in the Isle of Jersey, also expressing a preference for Chinese equipment.
The company sought bids from both Chinese and Western companies in 2014 for its wireless network and while Huawei's bid 20% below the lowest Western offer, ZTE was 40% cheaper. Jersey Telecom chief executive Graeme Millar went with ZTE, and commented: "I have a genuinely high-class, low-cost supplier with ZTE, who haven’t let me down yet.”
The US stands accused of using Huawei and ZTE as political pawns in the ongoing trade war standoff between Washington and Beijing.
Embattled Chinese telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE have received a welcome reprieve following the news that two Spanish operators are planning on using them for forthcoming 5G pilots.
Vodafone Group’s financial results for the quarter ended 31 December 2017 show a 3.6% decline year-on-year to €11.8 billion, due mostly to the removal of figures relating to its Netherlands Vodafone Ziggo joint venture from overall earnings. The company’s India unit was heavily affected by “intense price competition” and new regulation on termination fees.
Although India is excluded from Vodafone Group’s overall figures, the company’s pending merger with Indian operator Idea Cellular means it continues to provide updates for the unit. Vodafone India’s revenue in fiscal Q3 declined 26.6% year-on-year to €1.1 billion.
However, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said the regulatory process for the Idea Cellular merger was going well and should be complete in the first half of 2018.
On 20 March 2017, Vodafone announced an agreement to combine its subsidiary, Vodafone India (excluding its 42% stake in Indus Towers), with Idea Cellular. The combined company will be jointly controlled by Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group.
Service revenue declined 23.1% for Vodafone India as a result of intense price competition, Vodafone Group reported, which continued during Q3 as the Indian market leader increased the competitiveness of its tariffs despite price rises announced by the new entrant Reliance Jio.
This was exacerbated by a 29.2% decline in interconnection revenues following a MTR (mobile termination rates) cut on 1 October. Excluding the impact of regulation, service revenue declined by 14.2%. On a sequential basis, local currency service revenues excluding regulation declined 1.5% quarter-on-quarter.
“While the competitive and regulatory environment in India remains intense, we continue to make good progress in securing the required approvals for the merger with Idea Cellular,” said Colao, “and we have taken steps to strengthen the combined company’s financial position.”
Vodafone Group’s Networks Centre of Excellence team and the Huawei Mobile Innovation Centre have been testing a way to help address spectrum constraints in Turkey. The teams have completed the world’s first trial of GSM/LTE (GL) 900MHz dynamic spectrum sharing on Vodafone’s commercial networks in the Black Coast city of Trabzon.
"Spectrum is an extremely precious asset. This new network optimization technique improves spectral efficiency and enhances the experience of Vodafone customers,” said Mallik Rao, Vodafone Turkey’s Chief Technology Officer.”
Last year Vodafone and Huawei achieved overlap by GSM (2G) and LTE (4G) services within the 900 MHz spectrum band. Now the companies have shown that it is possible to assign that spectrum dynamically i.e. available 900 MHz can be allocated between 4G and 2G services based on customer demand.
In the trial, which took place over several months, dynamic sharing allowed Vodafone Turkey to provide up to 10MHz of 4G capacity and throughput in a very effective way. 4G KPIs show the improvement in network performance and better user experience. The test cases showed that download and upload throughput improved by 20 percent.
Ying Weimin, President of Huawei Wireless Network Research & Development, said: “We are glad to have tested GL 900MHz dynamic spectrum sharing on Vodafone Turkey’s commercial networks, and to have achieved satisfying performance results in the past few months. Huawei is dedicated to offering technical innovations to secure our customers' business success.”
Vodafone has achieved the first 5G data connection in Italy. The 5G trials were conducted by Vodafone in partnership with Huawei, which made available a radio base station using Massive MIMO technology.
It’s part of trials in Milan promoted by the Ministry for Economic Development. Vodafone, which was selected to conduct 5G trials in the Milan metropolitan area, used frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 GHz portion of spectrum made available by the Ministry.
The 5G data connection was achieved using an antenna located at the Vodafone Village in Milan, marking the start of the planned network rollout.
The success of the 5G trial represents a major step forward. This was a real live test demonstrating use of 5G Prototype equipment that already meets the current 3GPP standard, including Massive MIMO technology, which increases both capacity and coverage.
During the test, it was possible to appreciate the performance of the 5G network, reaching download speeds of more than 2.7 Gigabits per second, with a latency of just over a millisecond.
Vodacom, the South African subsidiary of UK-based Vodafone, has signed a MoU with Nokia under which the companies will trial Nokia 5G technology to accelerate the launch of the new technology and enable Vodacom to drive digitalization for the benefit of businesses and individuals in South Africa.
“We have defined a technology path that allows operators to transition to 5G at their own pace. Working with Vodacom, we can help it identify how 5G can support growth in the country and the steps it should take in its own transition to best meet individual subscriber and enterprise needs,” said Rajen Naidoo, head of Vodacom South Africa Customer Team at Nokia.
Nokia has a 5G portfolio that will allow operators to gain an early-to-market advantage in the delivery of ultra-fast mobile broadband services that leverage multi-Gigabit speeds and ultra-low latency. Nokia will leverage expertise from its Bell Labs Consulting arm to work with Vodacom and identify where, when and how to evolve its network to 5G.
Working with Vodacom in a series of workshops and trials, Nokia will share its latest 5G innovations including massive MIMO Adaptive Antennas, AirScale Radio Access, AirGile Cloud-native Core, Multi-Access Edge Computing, and end-to-end Mobile Anyhaul transport networks to test how they can be used to meet ever-changing demand in the country.
“As the leading mobile network provider in South Africa, with the best 3G and 4G networks, it was crucial for us to partner a formidable player such as Nokia as we're gearing ourselves for the next generation of wireless networks, 5G,” said Andries Delport, Vodacom Group Chief Technology Officer. “This collaboration comes at a time when we have a firm mandate from the Vodacom Board to propel Vodacom Group to become a leading digital company.”
Initially the companies will focus on the delivery of Ultra-HD and virtual reality video services, leveraging the enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G. Vodacom and Nokia will also collaborate to understand how 5G can drive continued economic growth in vertical industries important to South Africa including manufacturing, mining, healthcare, media, energy and transportation.
“It is my firm belief that the adoption of 5G will help us to deliver against some of the digital technologies in areas such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things,” Delport added. “Quite crucially, Africa is in the middle of a mobile connectivity boom, and as such, 5G will help us to deliver faster internet speeds to our almost 70 million customers across the Group."
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.
Vodafone UK has launched VOXI, a new mobile offering for people aged 25 and under, that enables them to “use their phones the way they want to,” the company said. The VOXI brand, products, customer experience and marketing have all be co-created with Vodafone’s audience. The VOXI offering is powered by Vodafone’s network.
The VOXI SIM, available from 8 September, lets users indulge in selected social and chat apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and Viber) as much as they like, without affecting their data allowance.
The offering is seen as “flexible and affordable” giving users the freedom to use their phone in Europe with no extra cost, and no contract or credit check required.
VOXI users get unlimited data on social and chat apps while roaming in the Europe Zone, but outside the zone, standard roaming charges apply. The company said it will also soon introduce the ability for users to access video and music apps as much as they like without using their data allowance.
“Why should young people make do with the same mobile plans as everyone else, when they use their phones differently and often can’t access the best deals?” said Dan Lambrou, Head of VOXI.
“We’ve worked with hundreds of people aged 25 and under, and have really listened to them. They are a generation that’s tired of being stereotyped and talked at. We created VOXI, a transparent new mobile service that gives our audience a platform to connect to the things that matter to them, whatever they’re into,” Lambrou added.
To ensure VOXI is relevant to its youth audience, Vodafone said the content on its marketing channels will be created by a community of young artists, filmmakers and designers from across the UK.
“They will showcase their diverse passions, talents and experiences across the entire VOXI marketing campaign – from social posts through to live events – reflecting the things our audience really cares about,” the company said in a release.
“Vodafone has been working hard to understand the specific needs of our customers. We know today’s young generation use their phones in a completely different way, with social media at the very centre of their lives,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffrey. “They want services that put their needs first.
“VOXI gives young people just that: access to the content and channels they love, simple and cost-effective price plans, and a mobile network they can count on,” Jeffrey added.
The company said VOXI may intervene in extreme situations if usage adversely impacts the service for other customers, or if someone is using the service fraudulently, or for commercial purposes.
The cost of providing unlimited use of the social media and chat apps is included in all VOXI plans, the company said, and users are free to opt-in or opt-out of their plan at any time.
South Africa-based telecommunications company Vodacom said in a statement that it will give all customers affected by a recent billing systems error a 500MB bundle for free, over and above the airtime and data refunds processed by the company.
The system error, which impacted certain prepaid and top up customers, was caused by a configuration change on Vodacom’s prepaid and top up billing system. Vodacom swiftly isolated the problem and rolled the process back. The company worked to ensure that all affected customers were refunded in full.
“The error clearly caused inconvenience to our customers and we’ve worked very hard since we picked it up to make it right and refund all our affected customers,” said Shameel Joosub, Chief Executive Officer of Vodacom Group.
But the company wanted to “go a step further” to apologize and thank its customers for their understanding, Joosub explained, thus deciding to give each affected customer a free 500MB bundle which they can use over three days.
“An error of this kind has never happened before and we’ve taken steps to ensure it never recurs,” Joosub said. “We’d like to assure all our customers that this was simply an error caused during a configuration change and nothing more than that. We hope our customers will appreciate the gesture, and our apology.”
Vodacom, majority owned by Vodafone (69.75% holding), is one of Africa’s main communications organizations. The company’s mobile network operates in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Lesotho and Kenya, covering a population of over 260 million people.
Vodacom recently announced that its proposed R35 billion (around US$2.6 billion) acquisition of an effective 35% stake in Kenya’s main telecommunications company Safaricom has been finalized. All regulatory approvals and conditions precedent in both Kenya and South Africa have now been met.
Vodafone Australia unveiled plans to deliver “much needed simplicity” and service innovation for customers connecting to the nbn (“Australia’s new broadband network” replacing parts of the existing phone and internet infrastructure) in a bid to lift the fixed broadband experience in the country.
As a new entrant to the fixed broadband market, Vodafone said it’s committed to resisting the status quo and driving change as it makes preparations to launch its nbn service. The service will initially launch in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong and progressively roll out to other areas.
Vodafone General Manager of Broadband, Matthew Lobb, said that while the nbn is a massive upgrade to Australia’s broadband infrastructure, the telecommunications industry is not seizing the opportunity to deliver better solutions for consumers and business.
“We see enormous potential in the nbn to finally provide Australia with world class broadband. However, what we’re seeing is the old guard telcos bamboozling Australians with techno-speak, confusing plans and poor customer experience,” said Mr. Lobb.
“It’s clear to us that Australians are seeking an alternative to what’s currently available in the market, and more importantly, a provider that is willing to be accountable,” he added. “Today we are proud to announce a unique set of service innovations that aims to lift the game rather than deliver more of the same.”
Vodafone Australia customers will be offered 30 Day Network Satisfaction Guarantee where they can ‘love or leave’ Vodafone nbn within the first 30 days of their contract after service activation if they are not satisfied. The company also said it will refund any monthly access fees paid by the customer as long as the Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub is returned to a Vodafone store within 10 days.
In addition, among other offerings, Vodafone Australia said it will provide freedom to change speed plans once per bill cycle without fees, and will also run a speed test on the customer’s line within the first 15 days of activation.
“Customers want simple and straightforward plans that are relevant to their use of technology. As a first for a major telecommunication company, we’ll be providing bonus mobile data rather than insisting customers receive an outdated, plain old fixed telephony service,” said Mr. Lobb.
He said the nbn is giving “more speed to people as their needs change.” Vodafone Australia, he said: “Wants to make sure that when our customers move onto the nbn, they will get a better experience than they do today.”
“Over the past year Vodafone has listened to what many Australians who have connected to the old DSL services or the nbn have had to say about their experience. People are feeling frustrated with the connection process, underwhelmed by the products and information they were provided by when they signed up, and are confused about the speed options on offer,” said Mr. Lobb.
He said nbn offers new speed choices for customers and Vodafone will give customers relevant advice about the different speed tier plans to help them choose the right product for their needs.
Lobb said Vodafone will conduct speed tests with customers and give them the freedom to change plans at no extra charge once per bill cycle.
“We’re really keen to be transparent and work with customers during the connection journey. There are a number of factors that affect speed and some of them we will only know after connection. This is why we’re going to do a speed check after the service activation to make sure our customers are on the right speed tier plan for their needs,” said Mr. Lobb.