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Ericsson and Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic) have announced that Ericsson’s Core Network as a Service solution is now live, supporting connectivity services across multiple markets served by Panasonic.

Ericsson’s Core Network as a Service solution will help Panasonic and its subsidiary AeroMobile, a global GSMA telecoms operator, provide data, voice and messaging services to the millions of airline passengers that use these services in-flight. The collaboration between Ericsson, Panasonic and AeroMobile started in 2016. It is now fully operational and delivers services to Panasonic customers worldwide.

As part of Panasonic’s initiative to bring a superior connected experience onboard commercial aircraft, Panasonic and Ericsson have seamlessly migrated the existing service operating across a global fleet of aircraft onto the core network, delivered as a service, while maintaining network performance and customer experience.

Every passenger whose mobile service provider has a roaming agreement with AeroMobile can use the service, which is supported by mobile operators across the globe and delivered inflight on board more than 20 of Panasonic’s global commercial airline customers.

The geo-redundant solution is delivered through Ericsson’s ground-breaking Core Network as a Service and includes virtualized network applications such as packet core, unified data management, mediation, and mobile switching delivered on Ericsson Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Infrastructure. The core network solution is part of Ericsson’s as a Service offering to service providers globally, and is able to support 5G services to the passenger and airline.

Kevin Rogers, Chief Executive Officer, AeroMobile, says: “Our partnership with Ericsson, and the technology provided, will allow us to better serve the communications needs of our passenger and airline customers. Furthermore, the solution enables us to grow our footprint and expand into other services offering a richer experience for the passenger and operational efficiencies for our airline customers. We are looking forward to continuing our exciting collaboration with Ericsson”.

Marielle Lindgren, Head of Customer Unit UK and Ireland, Ericsson, says: “Panasonic Avionics is the first customer on Ericsson’s newly introduced Core Network as a Service solution, which aims to bring Ericsson’s leadership and expertise to a wide range of service providers. We’re proud to have initially been chosen as Panasonic Avionics’ supplier for a 5G-ready core network, and pleased that the project is now live.”

The two companies will explore other services to address further market segments and opportunities, while ensuring service continuity and the constant evolution of the live network, including exploring new 5G use cases.

Published in Telecom Vendors

UAE ride-hailing services company Careem has invested $500,000 in a start-up entity which focuses on connecting commuters with private buses in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. Careem, which is seen as Middle East rival to global ride-hailing colossus Uber, acquired the minority stake in SWVL after weeks of negotiations. It has also been disclosed that in addition to the investment, CEO and co-founder of Careem, Magnus Olsson will also join the board of SWVL.

SWVL is only three-months old, but has already generated the interest of prospective investors after making an immediate impact in the transportation sector in Egypt. Careem, which operates in 12 countries, mainly in the Middle East will look to accelerate SWVL operations, although it declined to disclose the exact size of its minority stake in the organization.

SWVL was founded by a former Careem executive in April, and the company provides a bus transportation service which enables passengers to reserve and pay their fare through SWVL’s mobile application. The application formulates and maps the shortest journey time home based on the passenger’s location and destination by identifying the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.

Careem CEO expressed his desire to see the Egyptian start-up develop quickly, and he believes the best way of enabling that is by keeping the entity independent. Olsson said, “We want them to run and learn and develop at a very high pace and high agility and we believe the best way for them to do that is to stay independent.”

Careem announced last month that it had raised $500m from investors such as German car manufacturer Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding. It said the investment would help them accelerate their expansion plans. SWVL is unlike Careem and Uber in the sense that it isn’t an on-demand service, but it has a strong foundation of over 50,000 passenger and 200 buses using the mobile application.

Chief executive of SWVL, Mostafa Kondil said its primary objective is to really improve the product and disclosed that it is targeting 300,000 monthly trips by the end of 2017. Analysts have suggested that SWVL will utilize the investment made by Careem in order to increase its workforce, develop new app features and expand into other cities beyond Cairo, and to Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan next year.

Published in Apps