What’s up with… Ericsson, CityFibre, TM Forum Open APIs
- Ericsson board shows faith in CEO Ekholm
- CityFibre gets another cash injection
- TM Forum hits Open API milestone
A vote of confidence in Ericsson’s CEO, more wonga for the UK’s wholesale FTTX disruptor, and a worthy-of-note open API milestone for the TM Forum’s important telco software initiative kick off this week’s series of news roundups.
Ahead of its Annual General Meeting of shareholders, Ericsson’s board has issued a statement saying it backs CEO Börje Ekholm, stating that he has “the full confidence of the board, not only in regard to driving the company’s performance, but also in regard to the ethical and compliance transformation of the organization, which he continues to lead.” Ericsson is in deep water with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), as well as shareholders, over its historical operations in Iraq, which included corrupt practices and links to the terrorist group ISIS, as previously reported. Ericsson has just hired a new Chief legal Officer, Scott Dresser, who starts work today: He will “lead the comprehensive review of the conduct relating to Iraq and how it was addressed. This process is ongoing and we will act promptly to address shortcomings or misconduct identified. The Company continues to coordinate with the DOJ and other relevant authorities.” Ericsson is holding a “Responsible Business” briefing today to bring shareholders up to speed with developments and answer their questions. Ericsson’s share price currently stands at SEK86.82 on the Stockholm exchange, down almost 15% this calendar year, though it has been climbing in the past couple of weeks as the company openly addresses its challenges related to compliance and business practices.
CityFibre has banked an additional £300 million in funding from existing investor Mubadala Investment Company to support its “accelerated growth plans and enable participation in Building Digital UK’s (BDUK) ‘Project Gigabit’ rural programme.” Mubadala previously invested £500 million in the £1.125 billion funding round announced last September that was a mix of equity investments and credit lines. “Mubadala’s confidence in our business is testament to our growing momentum and progress,” noted CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch. “The need and appetite for carrier-neutral wholesale network competition at scale is clear, and CityFibre continues to demonstrate the benefits as a driver of wider investment, improved services and better value,” he added. To get an up-to-date picture of CityFibre’s progress towards its goal of passing 8 million UK premises with its wholesale fibre access network, read this press release.
The TM Forum has hit a significant milestone in its efforts to promote open telco IT deployments by announcing that more than 500,000 Open APIs have been downloaded from the industry organization’s repository by its members, as more and more network operators specify adherence to the TM Forum specs in their RFP/RFI documents. For more information, and to find out which companies are integrating the APIs into their software stacks, check out this TM Forum blog and this Open API page that includes a table of the companies that have Open API-certified interfaces. We have noted previously that Reliance Jio, cloud-oriented BSS newcomer Totogi, Whale Cloud, Comviva, Tecnotree and Inspur have been leading the way in Open API certifications (and applauded the TM Forum for its efforts, and those names still top the leaderboard, while some of the more traditional providers of telco software, such as Amdocs and Netcracker, have been less active. That much has been highlighted on LinkedIn by the outspoken acting CEO of Totogi, Danielle Royston, who manages to make some valid points about the importance of open interfaces (and what is driving their uptake) in this rival-baiting blog.
The Chinese government has once again come to the aid of totally ‘independent’ and ‘private’ companies in the telecoms sector over which, it is claimed, it has neither influence nor control overt and would never ever dream of imposing itself on them even if it did (which it doesn’t, just to be clear). Anyway, think Huawei, ZTE or any other telecoms company that has been barred from selling or operating in various markets or which are subject to sanctions. On Friday last, in Beijing, Gao Feng of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce dutifully intoned his master’s voice and said that the US continues to “misuse the concept of national security, abuse its power and maliciously suppress Chinese telecom companies.” He added that ‘violations’ of the most fundamental “principles of non-discrimination and fair competition” and the riding roughshod over long-established international trading conventions and rules “harms the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and consumers, including American users, and China firmly opposes it.” All done with a straight face that would have would have been the envy of Buster Keaton. Feng then threatened that unless this ‘unreasonable’ behaviour changes, China will take “all measures necessary to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.” The threat came a day after the US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), annulled the concession allowing Pacific Network Corp (and its subsidiary ComNet) to provide interstate and international telecommunications services in the US. Feng’s argument was later echoed, just about word-for-word, by Zhao Lijian of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Strange that.
T-Mobile US, the highly successful ‘un-carrier’, has a knack of getting right up the noses of its rivals, most notably and most usually AT&T and Verizon, telecoms dowagers both and both still redolent of the times of bombazine and old lace, who cordially dislike what they regard as an uppity, blustering arriviste competitor. That’s been par for the course for years. Now though, Charter Communications, a major cable broadband operator, is also weighing-in against T-Mobile in general and its ‘5G Home Internet’ service in particular. It has taken its grievances to the National Advertising Division of the venerable Better Business Bureau (the ‘BBB’ founded in 1912). The BBB is “where companies, industry experts, and trade associations work together within a self-regulatory environment to foster industry best practices in truth-in-advertising.” In other words, it is not a US government agency, has no enforcement powers and frequently reaches no decision on matters reported to it. Charter Communications says the “5G” in 5G Home Internet is misleading because not all T-Mobile subscribers can yet get 5G “in their homes at all times” and the BBB has thus suggested that T-Mobile “modify” its advertising to clarify the fact that sometimes the service might fall back on 4G/LTE technology. And so it does, but increasingly less often every day as T-Mobile’s 5G services (the biggest and fastest in the US) expand and proliferate. T-Mobile has now deleted its claim of "consistent speeds over 100 Mbps" and has replaced it with the assertion that “download speeds are between 35Mbps and 115 Mbps," speeds that are excellent when you factor-in that T-Mobile’s service costs subscribers a mere US$50 a month (with no data caps and no annual (or longer) subscription contract and compare that to the tariffs from other suppliers. What’s more, in due course the Home Internet service will be all 5G. Then what are T-Mobile’s competitors going to do? Make a federal case out of their rival being too popular with the public? The whole thing looks like a classic case of “sour grapes” syndrome.
You will have heard of the better mousetrap... well, now comes the IoT rat trap. It seems that following the pandemic lockdowns that brought countries around the world to an almost complete halt, urban rat populations have exploded. That’s why Internet of Things technology is being applied to wipe out as many of the proliferating rodents as possible. These days, poisons, noxious gases and other chemicals are out, so IoT-controlled devices are being deployed to transmit continually updated information about rats at a given site. Then, thanks to data analytics and AI, the devices report on the number of rodents disposed of via electrocution or a good old-fashioned impaling. The networked devices can be placed above or below ground. When rats enter them they are trapped, and are then dispatched by “fibrillation” (in other words a big jolt of electricity) or being speared by an array of spring-loaded mini-assegais before being tipped into a separate container for disposal by a visiting ”technician”. The new technology is increasingly being used all over the world. Last year, in the US, the three ‘rattiest’ cities were Chicago, Los Angeles,and New York. In the UK it was Birmingham, Newcastle and Leeds and, in France, it was Paris, Lyon and Marseilles. So now you know. Time will tell what is the smartest -- digital vermin control technology, or the rats. Throughout human history, to date, the rats have won -- but not all of them have been rodents.
- The staff, TelecomTV
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