What’s up with… Samsung and Dish, Ceragon, EU levies
- Samsung lands 5G RAN deal with Dish Wireless
- Ceragon also joins the Dish vendor menu
- EU mulls network levies on tech giants
- CommScope unveils XGS-PON solution
In today’s news roundup, Samsung and Ceragon land plum 5G deals at Dish Wireless, the EU hints that it will consider imposing levies on the major data traffic generators, and CommScope joins the next-gen FTTX tech club.
Samsung has landed another 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment contract in the US by securing a deal to provide Open RAN-compliant virtualized RAN technology and radio units to Dish Wireless, which is in the process of building a greenfield Open RAN-based 5G network across the country and which is expected to launch its commercial services any day. “Samsung’s 5G solutions will play an integral role in our network expansion, giving us the flexibility to deploy our cloud-native network with software-based solutions that support advanced services and operational scalability,” said John Swieringa, president and chief operating officer, DISH Wireless. “We look forward to working with Samsung, whose industry leadership in vRAN and O-RAN innovation will help support our vision of delivering open, interoperable cloud-based 5G services to consumers and enterprises across the U.S.”The collaboration also includes a deal to supply 5G devices, with Dish currently testing its 5G network using the Samsung Galaxy S22.
Samsung isn’t the only company adding its name to the US 5G newcomer’s vendor list: Wireless backhaul equipment vendor Ceragon Networks has landed a deal to provide Dish Wireless with microwave and mmWave equipment for its soon-to-be-launched Open RAN-based 5G network. Read more.
Ceragon has also reported a 2.9% year-on-year increase in first quarter revenues to $70.3 million but slipped to a $1.3 million operating loss. Doron Arazi, CEO, commented: “We began the year with accelerated momentum reflected by very strong bookings in Q1. We are witnessing increased operator and private network activity, especially in terms of 5G deployments in North America and Europe. While we are successfully turning this new momentum into new customers, orders, and bookings, the global component shortage, supply chain disruptions, and shipping issues continue to create irregular volatilities in our industry and adversely impact the conversion of our business successes into revenue increase and healthy margins. We are taking measures to mitigate this impact and its effects. We continue to be laser-focused on the areas that add value to our business, such as our technological leadership in our core domain and in the open network market, as well as our growing Managed Services offering.” Read more.
The European Union is set to consider whether significant generators of online data and video traffic, such as Google, Meta (Facebook) and Netflix, should contribute towards the cost of building and running the European telecoms networks that carry the traffic they generate, Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, told journalists on Monday, according to a Reuters report. The comments followed the publication of a report commissioned by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), titled Europe’s internet ecosystem: socio-economic benefits of a fairer balance between tech giants and telecom operators, that argues the case for contributions to telecoms capex budgets from major tech firms. In an announcement about the report, ETNO notes: “The report shows that European telcos have invested over €500bn in fixed and mobile networks in the past 10 years. On the contrary, the top 6 tech giants have generated over 55% of all telecom networks’ traffic, but they have made ‘little or no financial contribution to the development of national networks’.” This argument is not new – the telcos have been calling for some kind of economic contribution from the hyperscalers and streaming giants for years, but now Vestager has given them hope that some action might be taken. To find out more about the ETNO-commissioned report, read this press release.
CommScope has unveiled a “cloud-to-edge XGS-PON solution” that boasts “three primary attributes: a flexible architecture; open, interoperable components; and dynamic, cloud-based operation,” according to the vendor. The new solution “allows service providers in both greenfield FTTH and fiber-deeper scenarios to bridge multiple network topologies and take advantage of SDN efficiencies to prepare their networks for the future, regardless of what the future will require,” the vendor adds. The new offering comprises four components: A new CommScope FLX PON OLT and ONU portfolio; ServAssure domain management and ServAssure NXT performance management software; fiber connectivity solutions; and engineering and project management services. Read more.
Another day, another ransomware report. Last week we covered a new Sophos study showing that the average blackmail paid by organisations to cybercriminals to have their files and systems restored is now US$812,260. Victims say they do so because it’s the easiest and quickest way to get their networks back up and running. Now comes complementary analysis from Check Point Research, the research arm of the US-Israeli multinational provider of cyber-security software products Check Point Software. “Behind the Curtains of the Ransomware Economy - The Victims and the Cybercriminals” says that the collateral cost to an organisation of recovery from a cyberattack is far more expensive and takes very much longer to effect when compared to biting the bullet and simply paying the extorters to provide the keys to reinstate everything. Apparently, even though ransomware demands are now five times what they were in 2020, they are an increasingly small fraction of the total cost of an attack. The new report, part of which is based on data from the ‘incident database’ of Tel Aviv, Israel-headquartered Kovrr, a company that “financially quantifies cyber risk on demand” and “enables decision makers to seamlessly drive actionable cyber risk management decisions”, (i.e whether to pay up or not) finds ransoms demanded are on a sliding scale set within a range of 0.7 per cent and five per cent of the target’s annual revenues. The bigger the revenues, the smaller the percentage charged. Check Point’s threat intelligence group manager, Sergey Shykevich, says, “Noteworthy is the fact that for victims, the ‘collateral cost’ of ransomware is seven times more than the ransom they pay. The key learning is that the paid ransom, which is the number most research deals with, is not a key number in the ransomware ecosystem. Both cyber criminals and victims have many other financial aspects and considerations around the attack.” Ransomware cyberattacks are now a highly organised and structured international business with many similarities to the widespread organised crime that first gained traction during Prohibition in the US and matured in the 1940s ands 1950s with the Mafia-contolled gambling industry in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City and more recently the global drug-smuggling trade and the cartels that run it. There days ransomware gangs seek “successful negotiations” rather than completely to crush an organisation, although some that refuse to pay are crippled “pour encourager les autres”. Sergey Shykevich adds, “It’s remarkable just how systematic these cyber criminals are in defining the ransom number. Nothing is casual and everything is defined and planned according to [various] factors. Our message… is that building in advance proper cyber defences, especially a well-defined response plan to ransomware attacks, can save a lot of money for organisations.” The Check Point report also reveal that the duration of cyberattacks is shortening, having fallen from an average of 15 days in 2020 to nine days last year.
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, says that delivering its vision for the metaverse will require a re-imagination of network infrastructure and key to that is collaboration with telcos and DSPs around the world “to develop shared, open access optical fibre networks” and “help make abundant, affordable, high-quality internet available to more people today - and eventually, to deliver on the promise of the metaverse.” So, whilst surveying potential fibre routes across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where there are less than 3,000 kilometres of roads in a country a quarter the size of the US, Meta has been working with telecoms engineering consultants Sofrecom, oil and gas services company Groupe CVA, and the the local Congolese SOTEK Group (which plans to set up an MVNO to overlay the existing network in the Republic of Congo) to develop and implement a novel technique for optical fibre route surveys. The system uses dynamic cone penetrometers (DCP) and gamma-ray spectrometers to increase the speed of surveys and makes cost estimates for network construction more accurate and thus easier to determine whether or not a new project is technically and financially feasible. While mobile telephony penetration in the country of 100 million people is 44 per cent, a mere three percent have access to the Internet. Dynamic cone penetrometers calculate soil density in megapascals. Sounds complex, doesn’t it? The reality though is rather prosaic. A steel rod is hammered into the ground and by correlating the force needed to bang it to down to a given depth (usually two metres) a soil density profile can be calculated. It's a cheap, simple but very slow process. On the other hand, estimating soil density with a spectrometer (a device in common usage in the mining industry) that can detect and measure gamma-ray emissions from mineral trace elements in the soil is a more complex and expensive technology that requires skilled personnel but is highly automated and permits data to be sent back to a distant location for remote processing. In fact, Meta has already surveyed more than 5,000 kilometres of potential fibre routes across DRC. Perhaps it already knows where it will locate another of Mark’s Magic Kingdoms when people have had enough of his life on his virtual island?
Keeping the Internet open... Leaders of 60 countries have signed the “Declaration of the Future of the Internet”, a document designed to “safeguard the future of the Internet” and help "foster and strengthen democracy”. They support an Internet that is “open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure and affirm their commitment to protecting and respecting human rights online and across the digital world.” Signatories also agree that the Internet must reinforce central democratic principles, fundamental freedoms and human rights as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The core belief supporting the Declaration is that the Internet should operate as a single, decentralised network of networks, where digital technologies are used in a trustworthy way, avoiding unfair discrimination between individuals and for fair competition among businesses. All EU member states have signed as have the US, Canada and the UK. Other countries not amongst the original 60 are expected to sign in coming weeks. The Declaration (and its underlying principles) are not legally binding but signatories agree that, going forward, it will be a reference point for “public policy makers, citizens, businesses, and civil society organisations”. The main refuseniks are avowed or potential “Splinternet” nations including Belarus, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Somewhat surprisingly India has also declined to join the Declaration, although there are hopes the government there might change its mind in time. Meanwhile, Big Tech corporations are supportive, with Google emphasising that the private sector must have a leading role in the development of Internet standards and Microsoft noting that governments can’t manage the global challenges facing the Internet on their own and must work with technology companies to help resolve them. To date, the signatories to the Declaration are: Albania | Andorra | Argentina | Australia | Austria | Belgium | Bulgaria | Cabo Verde | Canada | Colombia | Costa Rica | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Estonia | The European Commission | Finland | France | Georgia | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Kenya | Kosovo | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Maldives | Malta | Marshall Islands | Micronesia | Moldova | Montenegro | Netherlands | New Zealand | Niger | North Macedonia | Palau | Peru | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Serbia | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Taiwan | Trinidad and Tobago | the United Kingdom | Ukraine | Uruguay.
Facility management company Mitie Group announced it has acquired 8point8, a UK provider of design and construction services, mainly for mobile telecoms tower infrastructure. The deal amounts to £10 million and is aligned with a strategy by Mitie to build “a leading telecoms support services company” which offers acquisition, design, construction and maintenance services to the mobile tower infrastructure sector. The company expects benefits from the addition to include a significant growth in revenue, “as the mobile telecoms industry gears up to establish a full 5G network over the next 3-5 years and replaces the installed Huawei infrastructure”. Read more here.
Filipino operator Globe unveiled a collaboration with AST SpaceMobile, the company that claims to be building the world’s first space-based cellular broadband network. The telco said the two companies will be tasked with exploring possibilities to implement AST SpaceMobile’s service across the Philippines using “cutting-edge” satellite technology. According to Globe, the collaboration will allow for its telecom services to cover areas “beyond the reach of land-based cell towers”, including to ensure connectivity in crisis times such as disasters and emergencies. Globe’s Network Strategy and Technology Enablement Director, Gerhard Tan, noted the move is part of a commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through enabling “inclusive economic growth”, alongside giving access to education and e-health even in remote and unconnected rural areas. More on the operator’s reasons behind sealing the deal can be found in its statement.
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