What’s up with… Ericsson, Google Cloud, Swisscom & AWS, Orange & Nokia

  • Ericsson and Google Cloud team up on 5G, edge
  • Google Cloud joins the O-RAN Alliance
  • Swisscom picks AWS for its public cloud strategy
  • Orange and Nokia deploy 4G/5G private network with slicing

A welter of interesting announcements, including multiple big name partnerships, from Ericsson, Google Cloud, the O-RAN Alliance, Swisscom, AWS, Orange and Nokia provide us with plenty of industry tidbits for this Tuesday!  

Ericsson and Google Cloud have joined forces to develop and deliver 5G and edge solutions for telcos and enterprises, building on the experience gained by working with TIM in Italy. The partners will collaborate at Ericsson’s Silicon Valley D-15 Labs, a “state-of-the-art innovation centre where advanced solutions and technologies can be developed and tested on a live, multi-layers 5G platform,” according to the Swedish vendor, which says it has already “completed functional onboarding of Ericsson 5G on Anthos to enable telco edge and on-premise use cases for CSPs and enterprises.” In Italy, Google Cloud and Ericsson are piloting enterprise applications at the edge on a live network with TIM. “The project, which will automate the functions of TIM’s core 5G network and cloud-based applications, will use TIM’s Telco Cloud infrastructure, Google Cloud solutions and Ericsson’s 5G core network and orchestration technologies,” added Ericsson, pointing to the 5G Cloud Network announcement made on Monday by the Italian national operator. For more on the agreement between Ericsson and Google Cloud, see this announcement

Still with Google Cloud, it has joined the O-RAN Alliance. “We believe that industry-wide open reference architectures and interfaces for RAN are key to driving innovation across communication service provider (CSP) mobile networks—with the O-RAN Alliance driving significant advances in the RAN layer… O-RAN specifications will also create conditions for enhanced network security and enable a more competitive and vibrant RAN supplier ecosystem with faster innovation to improve user experience and unlock new CSP operating models,” it noted in this blog post from Amol Phadke, Managing Director, Telecom Industry Solutions at Google Cloud, and Ankur Jain, Senior Director and Distinguished Engineer, Telecom at Google Cloud. They added that “we’re excited to work alongside fellow Alliance members, bringing the broad knowledge and expertise across Google to jointly drive and accelerate the realization of O-RAN initiatives.” Read the full blog here.

Swisscom is the latest operator to hook up with one of the major public cloud giants to advance its digitalization strategy and support its 5G rollout plans. The Swiss national operator has selected Amazon Web Services as its preferred public cloud partner, a decision that was unveiled by Adam Selipsky, the incoming AWS CEO, during an AWS Virtual Village presentation organized as part of the cloud giant’s MWC week activities. Swisscom plans to deploy its cloud native Core on a hybrid cloud platform that is a mix of its own private cloud, some AWS Outpost instances and, from next year, the new Zurich AWS public cloud region infrastructure, so the operator is covering its bases there. In addition, and in line with what many operators are doing, it is migrating multiple OSS, BSS and corporate IT functions, including contact centre and enterprise resource planning applications, to the AWS platform.

Orange says it has teamed up with Nokia to deploy a “4G/5G private network combined with network slicing” at Schneider Electric’s plant in Le Vaudreuil, France. “Network slicing is a key feature for the management of end-to-end 4G/5G quality-of-service and security of industrial processes, operations and applications in Industry 4.0.,” notes the operator, adding that Nokia’s slicing solution “supports existing LTE, 5G Standalone (5G SA) and 5G Non Standalone (5G NSA) devices and also includes domain controller software in RAN, core and transport layers to enable full slice connectivity.” That slice continuity between LTE and 5G NR “allows Orange and Schneider Electric to operate a state-of-the-art indoor network in an industrial setting. With this solution, both partners continue to implement and test the management of the different priorities, performance, and security capabilities adapted to their innovative use cases, while optimizing network resources,” adds the operator in this announcement.

According to the State of 5G report from test and measurement specialist Viavi, which has been tracking 5G’s growth since day zero, 5G services have now been launched in 1,662 cities in 65 countries. The three countries with the greatest number of cities with 5G coverage are (no surprise here) China, with 376, followed by the US (again no surprise), with 284. But in third place is the Philippines with 95, overtaking South Korea which is now in fourth position with 85 cities. Go the Philippines!! And what about the future? Well, 5G might be all the rage, of course, but 5G is expected to account for only about one fifth of all mobile connections globally in 2025, according to latest Global Mobile Economy Report from GSMA Intelligence, though we’re still talking about a massive number – 1.8 billion. And for an impressive statistic of another kind, let’s turn to Telstra in Australia, which with its technology partner Ericsson has managed to successfully place a 5G data call across a distance of 113 kilometres, which we believe is also the average distance that an MWC attendee walks in four days when the world isn’t turned upside down by a virus... (See Telstra and Ericsson achieve world’s longest distance 5G call.)

Fujitsu Network Communications is collaborating with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)’s OpenRAN Project Group to accelerate adoption of open radio access network infrastructure by contributing 5G multi-band O-RAN compliant radios to the Group. “The development of a vibrant ecosystem will allow mobile network operators to select best-of-breed components from an increasing number of suppliers,” said David Hutton, TIP’s chief engineer. “Fujitsu’s contributions to the TIP OpenRAN project group and its commitment to self-certification of its products according to the requirements of operators within the Project Group are an important part of our efforts to continually improve performance of the RAN through innovation, automation and competition.”

There’s been a setback for all those wishing for a successful antitrust action against Facebook in the US. In what’s being seen as a “stunning setback” (NYTimes), a federal judge has just thrown out lawsuits brought by more than 40 states on the one hand and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the other. Scathing comments were made by the judge, who said there wasn’t enough evidence to back up the  accusations against Facebook and that the States had waited too long to bring their case. In Congress, legislators took the rulings as proof that the antitrust laws needed updating.

Pakistan's telcos are spitting feathers about a truly stupid and utterly unmanageable government proposal to impose a new tax on voice calls lasting longer than five minutes! What's more, the authorities want the levy to be calculated and billed in real-time!! The tax will be 0.75 of a Pakistani Rupee (0.006 of a US dollar) for any call exceeding the 300-seconds limit. Pakistan already imposes an excise duty on phone calls. The new tax will be piled on top of that and will require telcos to audit billions of call records and minutes consumed to determine which individual subscriber pays what. Operators have written en masse to Aminul Haq, Pakistan's Telecoms and IT Minister, to tell him it will be technically impossible to impose and implement, not least because more than 90 per cent of voice minutes come free as part of service bundles that enable the country's poverty-stricken masses to be able to afford basic mobile subscriptions. The new tax would see the price of calls rise exponentially because "forcing this tax on subscribers will lead to fundamental changes in consumption behaviours, which will lead to shrinkage of the industry’s revenue base (possible shifting of voice revenues to over-the-tops) and potentially erode other taxation revenue streams of the government of Pakistan." The letter is also remarkably obsequious in a very Uriah Heep-ish way, saying, "We are quite confident that both of your good selves would clearly see the unintended consequences of this proposed levy, especially on the poor, and once again withdraw the proposal for good. We are very hopeful that your continued patronage will stimulate industry stability and a delegation of our CEOs would look forward to meeting with you both at your earliest convenience to further discuss the same accordingly." It should simply have read "Oi, Haq, No!” Micky Spillane rather than Charles Dickens.

Apple has made much of quality of the "Liquid Retina XDR" display on the the12.9 inch iPad Pro, claiming that the screen comprises more than 10,000 LEDs. TechInsights, a company specialising in technology analysis and intellectual property consultancy, set a team to check out the claim and found that, in fact, the device packs in even more than 10,000 of the little blighters. The earlier model of the iPad Pro featured 72 LEDs, so when the 12.9 inch device was launched the industry and media was taken aback by the apparent sudden tour-de-force in miniaturisation technology that allegedly resulted in LEDs of a size 120 times smaller than the previous generation. On close examination, TechInsights found that Apple's new mini-LEDs can provide improved display colour characteristics with improved power efficiency and can legitimately claim to compete head-to-head with more expensive OLED displays. The team counted 10,384 0.2 mm x 0.2mm mini-LEDs grouped into 2596 dimming zones. Impressive by any standards.

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