What’s up with… WRC-23, ONF, TXO

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Dec 15, 2023

Source: ITU

Source: ITU

  • The GSMA applauds WRC-23 spectrum decisions
  • The ONF ‘dissolves’ as it transfers projects to the Linux Foundation 
  • Refurbished telecom equipment supplier TXO acquires Lynx UK

In today’s industry news roundup: The World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) has ended with some “groundbreaking” spectrum allocation decisions; the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is shutting down after more than 12 years; refurbished telecom kit supplier TXO is buying Lynx UK to help with its international expansion; and more!

Industry organisation the GSMA, which represents the world’s mobile network operators, has hailed the spectrum decisions announced on the final day of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) as “groundbreaking” and noted they will “allow the mobile sector to plan the next wave of communications development through 5G-Advanced and beyond.” Conference delegates approved the use of additional mid-band spectrum for mobile services, including the allocation of new airwaves – the 6 GHz band (6.425-7.125 GHz) – for cellular services across the world. “The 6 GHz spectrum is now the harmonised home for the expansion of mobile capacity for 5G-Advanced and beyond,” noted the GSMA in this announcement. The WRC-23 also allocated the mobile use of more low-band spectrum in the 470-694 MHz band in EMEA for mobile services, a move that will enable the greater delivery of services in rural areas. “Over half the world is connected to the mobile internet today,” noted Luciana Camargos, head of spectrum at the GSMA. “But, as mobile connectivity develops, we need to ensure that we can deliver services for everyone. The great legacy of WRC-23 will be in allowing us to do so sustainably, affordably and in a way that delivers for the whole planet. We cannot stop here – WRC-23 is only the starting gun and now governments will need to act on its decisions, enabling new mobile technologies that embrace sustainability and unleashing the full potential of mobile to deliver a better tomorrow for our planet.” 

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is transferring its portfolio of open-source networking projects, encompassing access, edge and cloud solutions, to the Linux Foundation and, as a result, the ONF will be dissolved after more than 12 years of activity. “The move creates independent, community-led governance for the three major project areas –broadband, aether and P4 – and sets the projects up for broader collaboration and adoption,” the industry bodies noted in a joint statement issued by the Linux Foundation. They added that “following the release of ONF’s complete portfolio to open source over the past year, the ONF board determined that the next logical step for ONF’s portfolio of projects is to give them each full independence and move them into a community-led framework.” Nick McKeown, a founder of ONF and P4 who joined Intel last year when the chip giant hired the ONF’s development team, stated: “ONF was launched at the dawn of SDN, starting with the stewardship of OpenFlow. This initiated the disaggregation of networks, and from this the industry recognised that it urgently needed examples of high-quality, open-source, uncompromising software – first to control networks, and then to program the forwarding plane with the emergence of P4. Today, ONF’s project portfolio has all the software needed to build networks that are fully programmable top-to-bottom and end-to-end. These projects are ready for a bigger community of developers, and LF is the ideal partner to help grow these projects. Congratulations to the entire ONF developer community for changing how the world thinks about networks,” stated McKeown. Read more

Refurbished telecom equipment supplier TXO has agreed to acquire Lynx UK, a specialist network decommissioning and engineering solutions provider, for an undisclosed sum as part of its growth plans (that were briefly touched upon by the group’s CEO, Darren Pearce, in an interview for TelecomTV, available here). Following the takeover, TXO will add more than 80 specialists on decommissioning, asset management, engineering and test and repair services to its 260-strong headcount. In an emailed statement, TXO noted that the acquisition is aligned with its global strategy of “being a pioneer in the circular economy and supporting operators of all sizes as they expand and transform their networks in a sustainable way”. It further stated that the move will enable it to bring a “full-service circular economy proposition” for major telcos across five continents, including Australia where it has recently launched a new hub. Commenting on the announcement, Pearce noted that the takeover of Lynx strengthens TXO’s position “as a strategic partner for operators”, and that the company is “constantly looking” for opportunities to expand its footprint through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. “Expect to see more of this from TXO in the future”, he added. Lynx CEO, Lyn Pickering, added that by joining TXO, the company will be able to “extend our impact globally, driving innovation, efficiency and sustainability in the ever-evolving landscape of the telecoms industry.”

Canadian telco Rogers Communications has conducted the first satellite-to-mobile phone call in Canada, in partnership with Lynk Global, which describes itself as “the world’s leading satellite-direct-to-standard-phone telecoms company”. The call was made using Lynk’s low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites and the telco’s national wireless spectrum, while the devices used were Samsung S22 smartphones, the telco noted in a statement. Rogers pointed out, however, that its wireless spectrum ensures that the technology works on existing smartphones, so there is no need to install dedicated apps or use specific hardware. In addition to the call, Rogers and Lynk have also tested SMS, data and emergency alerting services. The move is part of the Canadian telco’s goal to provide coverage to the country’s “most remote areas to improve public safety and to connect communities that aren’t connected today,” explained Tony Staffieri, president and CEO of Rogers. The telco is aiming to launch satellite-to-phone technology in 2024, starting with SMS, mass notifications and machine-to-machine AI applications. It also plans to include voice and data services soon afterwards. The technology is set to enable wireless services in Canada’s most remote areas, such as national parks and rural highways. Aside from Lynk, Rogers has also partnered with SpaceX’s Starlink to provide satellite-to-phone coast-to-coast coverage in the country.

NEC has “enhanced and expanded the performance of its lightweight large language model and is scheduled to launch it in the spring of 2024,” the vendor noted in this announcement. “With this development, NEC is aiming to provide an optimal environment for the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) that is customised for each customer’s business and centred on a specialised model that is based on NEC’s industry and business know-how… Moreover, NEC will focus on developing specialised models for driving the transformation of business and promoting the use of generative AI from individual companies to entire industries through managed application programming interface (API) services,” it added.  

Major UK operator Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has made some senior management changes, with former strategic director Rob Orr replacing Ulrik Bengtsson as chief operating officer and Christian Hindennach taking on (temporarily) the chief commercial officer role following the departure of Gareth Turpin, TelcoTitans has reported. Turpin was the main executive spokesman for VMO2’s “smartphone swindle” campaign that was launched in May this year.  

- The staff, TelecomTV

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