Displaying items by tag: Telecommunications

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

Etisalat shares its cloudification journey in new white paper

Written on Monday, 13 November 2017 07:20

UAE-based telecommunications provider Etisalat Group collaborated with Huawei and Deloitte to launch a joint white paper titled ‘From Pipelines to Clouds – Etisalat’s Playbook’ that intends to share lessons learned from Etisalat’s road towards becoming a cloud-native telco.

“Cloud computing presents unique opportunities for Etisalat to attain sustainable growth in the emerging digital ecosystem,” said Hatem Bamatraf, Chief Technology Officer at Etisalat Group. “Our aim is to deliver a differentiated service experience to empower a digital and happier society.”

The launch of the white paper is part of a collaboration made amongst the three companies for a joint innovation program focused around a playbook on how to implement multiple exponential technologies that constitute a digital transformation journey through a technology perspective.

The companies believe that a future Telco Cloud will require different telecom network infrastructure and system architecture to address customers’ digital needs in order to deliver intelligent, quicker, more reliable value added services.

“Network transformation should be considered as an opportunity to deploy an experience oriented agile network and operating model rather than an imperative compulsion to address short-term business challenges,” said Peng Xiongji, President Etisalat Key Account at Huawei Technologies.

The white paper underlines the vision of Etisalat Group to harness its technological vision and key industry advances to provide innovative premium and differentiated service experiences for customers.

The adaption of new architecture and processes outlined in the paper will enable Etisalat Group to devise a practical road-map for the adaption of SDN and NFV technologies in addition to cutting edge techs such as MEC, AI, Machine Learning, 5G and so on.

This will greatly assist Etisalat Group to reassure the path to the envisioned scenario of achieving a cost effective infrastructure which enables Etisalat to launch innovative products coped with future time to market.

Published in Telecom Operators

Telkomcel and Ericsson launch 4G services in Timor-Leste

Written on Monday, 02 October 2017 11:54

Ericsson has expanded the broadband capabilities of Telkomcel, a mobile service provider located for Southeast Asian nation Timor-Leste (East Timor), owned by Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (TELIN), with the launch of Telkomcel’s 4G services to subscribers in Timor-Leste.

Live trials of the 4G network were successfully carried out earlier this month and the services have been launched as part of the 5th anniversary of Telkomcel’s operations in Timor-Leste.

“This investment and ongoing modernization of our network is yet another example of our dedication to future-proofing our operations for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Dedi Suherman, CEO of Telkomcel Timor-Leste.

“It also reflects our commitment to providing the mobile broadband community in Timor Leste with the highest quality of service available, delivered via cutting edge infrastructure and technology to ensure a superior mobile experience for our customers,” Suherman added.

This is a major milestone in Telkomcel’s business in Asia as it marks the first 4G implementation using virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) and the Ericsson Radio System software release, LTE RAN 17A.  The Ericsson LTE RAN 17A release delivers many LTE technology enhancements to increase network speed, capacity and overall network performance, further enhancing the mobile broadband experience for subscribers.  

Telkomcel has been catering to the telecommunication demands of more than 450 thousand subscribers from the 1.2 million total population of Timor-Leste since its establishment in 2012. It currently holds a significant market share of the cellular services market in Timor-Leste.

“This cooperation represents a significant milestone as it further strengthens our partnership with Telkomcel and is another testament of our commitment to our customer’s success,” said Jerry Soper, President of Ericsson Indonesia and Timor Leste. “Timor-Leste is an important market for mobile network development and innovation as the users are passionate adopters of new technology.”

Ericsson, as Telkomcel’s long-term partner, has modernized the operator’s existing infrastructure with Ericsson NFV infrastructure (NFVi) solutions based on the software-defined infrastructure Ericsson Hyperscale Data Center System 8000, Ericsson vEPC and the Ericsson Radio System LTE RAN 17A software solution. They support high-capacity environments and solutions, so that operators could enable new use cases with Internet of Things (IoT), for example. 

“With the availability of 4G subscriber services, the people of East Timor will be able to enjoy even more of the features of smartphones that have significantly influenced the way people live and do business,” Soper said.

Published in Telecom Operators

Ericsson’s financial uncertainty shows no sign of abating following reports in the Swedish media that the telecommunications firm is set to cut 25,000 jobs. Reports circulating from the Nordic region claim that management at Ericsson intend to lay off around 25,000 employees as part of its new savings program that has been devised in an effort to counteract its financial plight. 

In July, Ericsson formally announced that it planned to accelerate measures to meet a target of doubling its 2016 underlying operating margin of 6%. In addition to this, it also outlined its aim to reach an annual cost reduction run rate of at least $1.2 billion by the end of the second quarter of next year.

Ericsson stressed that any actions taken would primarily affect service delivery and common costs, and claimed that research and development would remain largely unaffected. However, the Swedish telecommunications colossus is facing increasing pressure from competitors such as China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia.

Other contributory factors to its financial woes is that of weak emerging markets and falling spend by operators with the demand for next-generation 5G technology still years away. Swedish media outlet Svenska Dagbladet claimed that a source within Ericsson leaked the information to them, but said it was unsure as to whether or not the planned culling of staff included employees within its media operations.

It has been claimed that these positions are up for strategic review, and many analysts have predicted that it is likely to be sold by the group. In a statement which was released on Ericsson’s website, a spokesman said it was too early to talk about ‘specific measures’ in relation to the latest jobs cuts at the organization. The statement read, “Ericsson has not communicated which specific units or countries could be affected. It is too early to talk about specific measures or exclude any country.”

This is just the latest in a long line of job cuts which have been made by Ericsson over the last number of years. Multiple job losses have been made in both Italy and Sweden. However, these reports if true would represent the largest reduction in staff by the company. Theres was hope that the appointment of a new CEO, and a number of board changes would reinvigorate the Swedish telecommunications giant, but that has thus far failed to materialize. Currently, Ericsson has around 109,000 employees.

Published in Telecom Operators

South African telecommunications firm Vodacom has been forced to delay its planned rollout of 4G services in some of the most rural and remote locations in the country - after it ran out of spectrum. The company’s CTO Andries Delport confirmed that the operator had exhausted its spectrum which subsequently limited urban availability of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A).

In addition to this, Vodacom’s CTO said that its rural 4G coverage initiative had reached 44% of the population, but due to the exhaustive demands on spectrum it was unable to expand its coverage further until more bandwidth is released by South Africa’s regulatory authorities.

Vodacom’s Head of Innovation, Jannie van Zyl echoed the sentiments of her colleague and stressed that the LTE-A rollout was also being constrained by the lack of spectrum assets available. It’s been a long-term problem in South Africa, with the country’s telecommunication operators long raising its displeasure with the slow release of the country’s airwaves, amidst internal squabbles and rows about how the spectrum should be allocated.

Vodacom’s CTO highlighted delays in clearing sub-900MHZ airwaves currently used for analogue broadcast. He believes that allowing access to the airwaves would dramatically quicken and increase the availability of 4G in rural areas.

However, clearing the band has been a long drawn-out process in South Africa, and operators have encountered red tape over the years. South Africa’s authorities were initially working to a deadline of January 2011 in relation to switching off analogue TV signals. The deadline has been moved several times in the years, with the move to digital only occurring in February 2016.

Delays in allocating new bandwidth for wireless services in South Africa has also been a long-standing problem. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa came under intense pressure from operators and government departments over its long-awaited 4G auction. Despite pressure and criticism the process was also postponed from its initial date of January 2017, after a row broke out over communications in the country.

The South African government formally announced a shared network deal in an attempt to increase broadband coverage on a national basis. This would see an open access network created which any operator could access through wholesale agreements.

Published in Telecom Operators
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