TelecomTV’s top 10 stories of 2023

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Dec 20, 2023

  • It’s been another year of breathtaking activity in the telecom sector
  • And yet another year of record traffic on the TelecomTV site
  • Here are the 10 articles that were viewed the most during the past 12 months
  • BT, Huawei, Intel, Mavenir, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Vodafone all feature, as does a certain Tareq Amin…

If 2023 is remembered for just one thing in the communications and technology sectors, it will be the massive impact that the introduction of widely available generative AI (GenAI) systems had on strategies, investments and industry discourse. A popular view is that GenAI will be the technology that ultimately transforms the telecom sector – and there’s no doubt it’s already having an impact in many ways. 

But artificial intelligence was only one of the major topics covered by the (human) TelecomTV editorial team in 2023 and our list of the most-read articles on the site shows that, in the communications networking and services world at least, articles about people and money are just as popular as those about technology.

So here’s a rundown of the 10 most-read articles of 2023 (based on page view statistics). 

1. Vodafone unveils Open RAN 5G network-in-a-box 

17 February 2023: Vodafone Group held a pre-MWC23 briefing for analysts and the media in London to discuss various industry trends and Yago Tenorio, Vodafone fellow and network architecture director at the operator, was on hand to unveil and show off a low-cost Open RAN-compatible 5G network-in-a-box based on a software-defined radio (SDR) chipset developed by Lime Microsystems and a Raspberry Pi 4 personal computer. Tenorio stated there’s nothing proprietary in the box and nothing that couldn’t be put together by any other company. “The fact is, no one else has been bothered to do it – we have,” he said. And there was a lot of interest in the Wi-Fi router-sized box, which also attracted a lot of attention at Vodafone’s booth in Barcelona. Read the full story.

2. Tareq Amin joins Aramco Digital as CEO

17 October 2023: People love a people story! Tareq Amin, arguably Open RAN’s most prominent cheerleader, has emerged as one of the biggest and most divisive characters in the telecom sector, especially during his time in various CXO roles at Rakuten Mobile and its vendor subsidiary Rakuten Symphony. So when he announced in early August that he was standing down from both Rakuten operations with immediate effect, that was major industry news. For the next two months, any gathering of telecom executives invariably led to questions about where Amin might turn up next – speculation was rife (especially after a few glasses of ‘tonic’...). Then in mid-October, he announced on social media that his “next mission” would involve “contributing to the incredible push for a digital revolution in Saudi Arabia” and just a day later TelecomTV revealed that he had joined Saudi oil giant Aramco as the CEO of its recently formed enterprise digital technology subsidiary, Aramco Digital. Details about his role have been scarce, but it looks like it will include a heavy focus on private 5G network developments and collaboration with Samsung. Read the full story.  

3. BT to cut up to 55,000 jobs in AI-enabled efficiency drive 

18 May 2023: There has long been talk of just what kind of impact AI-enabled process automation might have on headcount levels at telcos and now we’re starting to find out. In May, UK national operator BT announced plans to reduce its labour force by up to 55,000 roles, from the current 130,000, before the end of this decade and that about 10,000 of the affected roles would be cut as a result of “digitisation, automation… using technology to do things much more efficiently.” Read the full story.

4. Red Hat takes cloud-native telco crown 

15 September 2023: In September, TelecomTV launched its DSP Leaders Report program and we kicked off with a market perception survey to collect some network operator views on cloud-native telco developments. The resulting Cloud-Native Telco Market Perception Report was a hit, not least with the team at Red Hat, which ranked as the leading cloud-native experts in the telecom sector by our telco respondents, while Amazon Web Services (AWS) ranked highest among the hyperscalers. Read the full story

5. BT’s CEO Philip Jansen throws in the towel 

10 July 2023: After almost five years at the helm of the UK national operator, Philip Jansen announced he was stepping down as the CEO of BT and that he would leave in early 2024. By the time the announcement was made, the search for his successor had already begun and in late July Allison Kirkby, the current CEO at Telia, was unveiled as BT’s next head honcho. Our article pored over BT’s financials and strategy, but if you’re interested in what Jansen thought of his time at BT, then check out the video of our recent Great Telco Debate fireside chat with the man himself – it’s one of our most viewed video interviews of the year. Read the full story

6. Huawei is still the world’s biggest telecom equipment vendor 

22 March 2023: In some people’s minds, Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies is a spent force in the telecom network technology sector, but the truth is that it is still by far the largest single supplier of networking hardware and software to telecom operators worldwide, according to 2022 data collated by research house Dell’Oro Group. It’s also true, of course, that Huawei’s dominance comes largely, but not exclusively, from its leading position in China, where the major operators have been investing heavily in 5G and fibre access networks in recent years and have been handing much of the work to the domestic vendor duo of Huawei and ZTE. But even beyond its domestic market, Huawei is still a major force: According to the Dell’Oro team’s calculations, Nokia, Ericsson and then Huawei were the top three telecom equipment vendors outside China in 2022, with market shares of 20%, 18% and 18% respectively. Read the full story

7. Nvidia smells blood in the RAN

2 June 2023: As 2023 draws to a close, there’s unlikely to be a more satisfied technology executive in the world than Jensen Huang, CEO at chip vendor Nvidia, which reported eye-watering financial numbers throughout the year with demand for its hardware and software products rocketing as a result of the rush to build data processing systems capable of supporting the demands of GenAI platforms. In November, the company reported staggering fiscal third-quarter financials that included a 206% year-on-year increase in revenues to $18.12bn and a 1,633% year-on-year increase in operating profit to $10.4bn. Nvidia’s share price has risen by more than 240% this year and currently stands at $496.04, giving the company a market valuation of $1.23tn. And Nvidia believes its technology has a key role to play in the radio access network (RAN) sector. Its pitch? Nvidia has the “accelerated compute” hardware for server architectures that can simultaneously support AI and software-defined 5G functionality in a way that delivers enhanced performance, flexibility, agility and resource efficiency. Not only that, Japanese operator SoftBank is already exploring the potential of that architecture. Read the full story

8. Vodafone CTO: Insourcing is key to the techco transition 

23 May 2023: The phrase ‘digital transformation’ is widely used across the enterprise sector – in the telecom operator world, the talk is of the transition from telco to techco as network operators adapt the way they run their networks and operations in the cloud-native era. The topic was at the fore of this year’s DSP Leaders World Forum event in Windsor, UK, where Vodafone Group CTO Scott Petty outlined his company’s transition. Co-hosting the opening session of the forum – ‘From telco to techco: The impact of next-gen operations on skills, talent acquisition and retention’ – he addressed some of the key challenges faced by the telecom industry and shared his insights on how network operators can adapt for future success, with a specific focus on the way telcos/techcos develop their own teams, especially by insourcing talent and investing in engineering in order to innovate and unlock new revenue opportunities. Read the full story

9. Intel and Qualcomm are Mavenir’s new investors – sources

9 May 2023: Mavenir is one of the challenger vendors hoping to build a sizeable business from the growing demand for Open RAN-enabled mobile network technology, but in order to scale up and expand its portfolio, the vendor needs capital. In May, the company announced it had raised an additional $100m to add to its coffers, with Mavenir’s majority shareholder Siris Capital Group providing the bulk of the funds with support from “two highly strategic ecosystem partners”. That duo weren’t identified, but industry sources told TelecomTV that Intel and Qualcomm, two more companies that stand to gain from growing demand for Open RAN systems, were the names in the frame. Read the full story

10. Telus gains a new lease of telecom software life 

17 May 2023: One of the major challenges faced by network operators around the world is how to deploy cutting-edge, cloud-oriented software systems that can support their current and future needs while weaning themselves off the legacy IT systems that have underpinned their businesses for years. At Canadian operator Telus, a change of strategy and the adoption of a uniform approach to reusable, application programmable interface (API)-driven software modules developed by industry body TM Forum have helped the operator to become more operationally and economically efficient, the operator’s chief information officer Hesham Fahmy told TelecomTV. Read the full story.  

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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