What’s up with… Italian 5G small cells, Project Triffid, the ’90-day Finn’

  • 5G small cells are being rolled out in Italy
  • Arm channels Wyndham
  • Helsinki ahoy!

The densification of 5G in Italy, a reference to British science fiction of yonder years and an offer Californians might find strangely enticing are the frontrunners in this gallop to the news finishing line.  

TIM (Telecom Italia) has teamed up with towers company INWIT (in which TIM is a significant stakeholder) to deploy 5G small cells in major cities across Italy, starting with 100 sites each in Milan and Genoa (starting with 100 sites each). “Despite the spread throughout the territory of traditional macro towers (INWIT has over 22,000 sites) and despite the fact that their number is growing to meet the ever-increasing demand for mobile connections by customers, more and more small cells systems capable of increasing the quality of the signal will be developed in large urban centers,” noted INWIT in this press release

Arm Ltd., the British semiconductor, processors and software design company in the throes of being acquired by NVIDIA of the US, is examining alternative power sources for IoT and the possibility of making billions of devices that do not need a battery to power them. One area of advanced research rejoices in the name of Project Triffid. It celebrates the 1951 post-apocalyptic science-fiction novel "The Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham, which to this day maintains a special niche in the British psyche probably because the monsters trying to take over the world are big vegetables that shamble slowly about trying to sting people who can easily outpace them. The only humans they can catch are blind. Triffids are destroyed by hosing them down with salt water. So, easily dealt with and not so scary after all. Anyway, Arm's Project Triffid refers to an ultra-low power microprocessor that requires such a tiny amount of power that in can be activated by an RFID scan. It remains active until the power dissipates, which can be as long as a minute or as short as a few microseconds. Because the chip has embedded non-volatile memory, the last action taken by the device remains intact on it and is revived the next time the microprocessor is powered-up. Such attributes have obvious uses in IoT, examples being in logistics (parcel deliveries etc.), medicine and wearables. Another Arm research area is as part of Project Morello, which is funded by the UK government. The intent is to change radically the design of CPU architecture and the programming of future highly robust microprocessors to enable vastly-enhanced built-in security and keep hackers at bay. Now that would be an extra juicy cherry on top of the computing cake.

The worthy burghers of Helsinki, the capital of Finland, are offering "tech professionals" from Silicon Valley, in sunny and mainly warm California, a free three-month stay in the city for them and their families. The ‘90-Day Finn’ freebie is funded by the Helsinki Business Hub and successful applicants (i.e. those with technological skills and knowledge the country would like to ‘leverage’) will get all necessary papers to expedite their temporary (or even permanent) transfer to Finland as well as help in finding accommodation, schooling for the children, all medical and dental care, a trip to a sauna, airport pick-up and drop off three months later, a civic reception, a city tour, a cultural programme and a free gift on arrival. "This is Rudolf, he eats moss and mushrooms." There will also be "in-person introductions to local technology hubs and business networks". For God's sake don't tell Stephen Elop, the man who laid waste to Nokia. He might want to go back, not that he'd be very welcome. In a subtle jab at the (just about) present US administration, the blurb says the 90-Day Finns will "enjoy work-life balance unique to Finland and guided to stay safe amidst the global pandemic in a city that is run based on a pragmatic, science-driven approach." Guffaw, guffaw. And some say the Finns don't have much of a sense of humour. Those California techies finding the daily grind up and down El Camino Real increasingly insupportable have only a short time to get their applications in. The window closes on December 10. Those selected will fly to Helsinki in mid-February. Oh, and for the 15 lucky winners there's also the little matter of having themselves to pay for the flights to Finland and back. Generosity has its limits.

SK Telecom reported a year-on-year increase in third quarter revenues to KRW 4.731 trillion ($4.2 billion) and a 19.7% increase in operating profit to KRW 395.7 billion ($352 million). The Korean operator said its mobile business grew revenues by 1% year-on-year to KRW 2.941 trillion ($2.6 billion) and ended September with 4.26 million 5G customers. See this press release for more details.

BSS systems giant CSG, which has just reported its third quarter results, has helped satellite services giant Inmarsat shift its billing and revenue management systems to a cloud-based managed services model that has been devised by the billing system specialist. See this press release for more details.

The Indigo submarine cable that runs 9,000 miles between Perth and Sydney in Australia and Singapore is being upgraded to enable single-wavelength channel speeds of up to 500 Gbit/s using technology from Ciena. See this press release for all the optical details. Also from Ciena, the vendor’s head of marketing, Joe Cumello (one of the nicest fellows in the industry), has been invited to join the vendor’s top management table, sporting the new job title of Senior VP of Global Marketing and Communications

Colt Technology Services has teamed up with Atos to assemble a ‘Contact Centre as a Service’ solution (CCaaS). This will offer an omnichannel support package for enterprises combining Colt’s cloud-enabled telephony proposition with its global network reach and Atos’s ‘Cloud Contact Centre’ offering. The key point, says Colt, is the promise of ‘seamless’ customer interactions across phone, Web, social media, or chat, with the system plugged into CRM and other critical customer interaction tools. Being powered by the cloud, CCaaS can be supported from anywhere, including the home, so it should be employee lockdown-proof. Colt CCaaS will be launching in Europe during the first quarter of 2021.

Nokia has completed a multi-vendor communications infrastructure project for the Ceneri and Gotthard Base Tunnels that are providing faster and more environmentally-friendly north-south routes across (or through!) the Alps. See this press release for more details.

Japanese upstart operator Rakuten Mobile has announced several initiatives in an attempt to woo more users to its 4G and 5G services. In what it calls its Zero Declaration, it has scrapped mobile number portability (MNP) and contract sign-on fees, saying this has been made possible because it has “been able to dramatically reduce capital investment and operating costs of its network compared to traditional industry standards” and so can pass on savings to customers. It will also introduce, from 9 November, a system called eKYC(electronic Know Your Customer) that allows online identity verification for mobile contracts. “With eKYC and eSIM combined, customers can access mobile services soon after completion of online application,” noted the operator, which also confirmed it had joined the O-RAN Alliance, with CTO Tareq Amin taking a seat on the expanded board. “At Rakuten Mobile, we believe that Open RAN is the future evolution of mobile networks… As a member of the O-RAN ALLIANCE, we will leverage the experience gained from the development of our open, virtualized network in Japan to contribute to the creation of a fully open standard for RAN for the world,” stated Amin in this announcement. The mobile operator’s parent company, Rakuten Inc., will reports its third quarter financials on 12 November, which should include an update on how many Japanese users have signed up for services from the challenger operator, which competes with NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank: Up to now the mobile operation has only discussed having 1 million applications for its 4G service, which launched in April, while its 5G service (offered over an Open RAN network) was launched just a month ago.  

Still in Japan… KDDI and SoftBank are set to pump $38 billion into their 5G networks during the coming decade, according to a report from the Nikkei. The team at Rakuten would argue, of course, that its investments would never need to be so high…

Qualcomm’s share price is on fire – up more than 13.6% to $146.5 – after the wireless chip giant reported much better than expected sales and profits for its fiscal fourth quarter. Revenues came in at $8.35 billion, up by 73% year-on-year, while net profits grew almost six-fold to almost $3 billion. Even adjusting its sales for one-time items (including a massive $1.8 billion licensing payment form Huawei), Qualcomm’s sales were still 35% better than the same period a year ago. See this CNBC report for more details. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.