During Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Zain Group, a telecom operator present in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announced that it has joined the Telecom Infra Project, (TIP), an initiative co-founded by Facebook, Intel, Nokia, SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and others in 2016.
The primary aim of TIP is to bring mobile operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies together to collaborate on the development of new technologies and reimagine traditional approaches to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure. Operators and the broader telecom industry need to collaborate, be more flexible, innovative and efficient, and TIP looks to help achieve this goal.
As a pioneer in telecommunications in the Middle East and Africa, Zain brings vast expertise and resources to the initiative as it will leverage its regional footprint and experience in network deployments across challenging territories to support TIP.
TIP is exploring new approaches and technologies across these initial focus areas: access, backhaul, and core and management. The projects within these areas utilize the unique engineering and operational expertise of each member, focusing on developing new technologies and exploring new approaches to deployment in both developed and emerging markets. Each member contributes to the area of its expertise, while learning from others so that together all parties can collaborate and build better, faster, more efficient systems.
Commenting on becoming a part of the TIP initiative, Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO said, "It could be argued that scaling traditional telecom infrastructure to meet the ever-increasing demand for broadband data is not moving as fast as it needs to ensure customers receive the mobile experience they demand and deserve. Zain recognizes there isn't a single solution for this, and that no one company can tackle the problem alone. We firmly believe collaboration in innovation will drive efficiencies in our business and we are keen to be part of such prime opportunities wherever they may arise."
Gegenheimer continued, "Being a staunch advocate of the expansion of connectivity for all, Zain fully appreciates the power the internet has to enhance and empower the communities it serves. There are 4 billion people in the world who still don't have a data connection and we commend Facebook and the other founding companies for kick-starting TIP. We have high expectations that this initiative will result in bridging the digital divide by greater inclusion, and call on for more of our regional and industry peers to join us in this initiative."
Since the launch of TIP in February 2016, the initiative has achieved numerous milestones including the creation of 'TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centers' that incubate local talent around the world and accelerate product development through support from leading global and local investors.
A 'People and Process Project Group' was also created in order to develop and share cultural and process transformation best practices that can improve operators' key metrics. In addition, Facebook contributed Voyager, the industry's first white-box transponder and IP/MPLS routing solution that was successfully tested. Furthermore, Facebook's OpenCellular designs and schematics are now fully open source within TIP to accelerate the industry's ability to provide wireless access in remote areas of the world.
Driving a faster pace of innovation in telecom infrastructure is necessary to meet new technology challenges and to unlock new opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem. Flexibility will be key in everything TIP does though and the goal is to allow mobile network systems to evolve without having to start over.