What’s up with… Lynk Global, SK Telecom, Fujitsu

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Dec 19, 2023

  • Lynk Global takes the merger route to a public listing 
  • SK Telecom teams with Thales on quantum-resistant cryptography 
  • Fujitsu boasts power-saving rApp

In today’s industry news roundup: Satellite-to-smartphone specialist Lynk Global is to become a listed company on the Nasdaq exchange through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC); SK Telecom and Thales are exploring ways to protect user identities in the quantum computing era; Fujitsu has focused on energy efficiency for the development of an rApp that runs on its Open RAN management platform; and more!

Lynk Global, the low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite firm that aims to enable direct-to-smartphone communications from its constellation of ‘cell towers in space’, has signed a deal to become a publicly listed company by merging with Slam Corp, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that is already listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. “Lynk was created with the mission to connect everyone, everywhere by providing affordable connectivity to billions globally using the phones already in their pockets,” stated the company’s CEO, Charles Miller. “In effect, we’ve created a new category, and our operational technology requires no change to consumers’ phones while delivering services with immense lifesaving implications. As a public company, we will have access to greater capital to take advantage of the satellite-direct-to-device opportunity, bringing these services to even more people and truly ending the era of the disconnected,” he added. Details of the merger have yet to be agreed and there is no indication of how much cash Lynk Global would raise as a result of the business combination, though the companies noted they expect the combined entity to be valued at no less than $800m. Lynk is one of a number of companies aiming to provide communications services from space direct to regular smartphones and has been working with a number of mobile operators, including African operator MTN and New Zealand’s Spark, that could use Lynk’s satellites to provide services to customers that are beyond the reach of terrestrial networks (for example, while at sea, in mountainous areas etc). Other companies aiming to provide such satellite-to-smartphone connections include AST SpaceMobile and Starlink/SpaceX.  

SK Telecom (SKT) has partnered with European conglomerate Thales to protect customers in the quantum computing era. The South Korean operator explained that the two companies have tested and advanced quantum-resistant cryptography, based on a 5G standalone (SA) network and a 5G SIM. The offering aims to encrypt and decrypt subscriber identity in a secure way to protect user privacy from future quantum threats. The innovation involved upgrading the cryptography used to anonymise the user’s digital identity on the 5G network and demonstrated that it can safeguard subscribers’ identities via a regular commercial network, according to the telco. Yu Takki, VP and head of the infra technology office of SKT, said the company is aiming to combine a post-quantum cryptography (PQC) SIM with its additional expertise on quantum to achieve “end-to-end quantum-safe communications”.

Fujitsu, which is rapidly emerging as one of the most influential vendors in the Open RAN sector, says it has developed an AI-enabled energy-efficiency rApp that can be deployed and run as part of its Virtuora Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) stack for Open RAN. “The Fujitsu rApp uses traffic estimates powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence to switch network capacity on or off as needed while maintaining service continuity,” the vendor noted in this announcement.  The vendor added that it conducted interoperability tests of the Virtuora SMO offering equipped with RAN equipment in November 2023, during which it recorded “power savings of more than 20% compared to conventional methods for estimating communication traffic for individual base stations.” 

Middle Eastern operator giant e& (formerly Etisalat) has hit “a major industry milestone” with the completion of what it claims to be the world’s first 1.6Tbit/s per wavelength technology trial on an optical transport network built using technology from Chinese vendor Huawei. By doing so, the telco said it has addressed the growing demand for capacity from cloud-based business services, and for enhanced 10G home broadband and advanced 5G services. The Emirati telco group added that the test led to a 65% reduction in power consumption per gigabit, “laying a solid foundation for modern digitalisation and [an] environment-friendly future”. According to e&, the achieved speeds will help it deliver “the best-in-class optical network in UAE” and take it a step closer to achieving a flexible optical network that is able to meet Advanced 5G mobile networks and futuristic customer requirements. “This is part of our network transformation journey to provide one of the fastest and [most] energy-efficient connectivity for hyperscale computing while also surpassing customer expectations by providing superior experience,” explained Khalid Murshed, chief technology and information officer at e&. Find out more.

Telco group Telia has provided an update regarding its exit from Denmark. In a brief statement, the operator noted that the clearance process for the proposed sale of Telia Denmark to energy and broadband services group Norlys has not yet been finalised. This is because the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) has moved its investigation into the deal to a second phase, which Telia described as “a standard procedure” during which the regulator can extend the timeline if it needs extra time to reach a decision. The operator noted that the two companies are in dialogue with the DCCA and are still striving to close the deal in the first quarter of 2024. Telia unveiled plans to sell its Danish operation and network assets at the end of April, announcing a $926m deal with Norlys, as part of its goal to refocus on markets in which it believes it can hold leading positions. If its exit from Denmark goes ahead, Telia’s remaining operations will be in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Lithuania – see Telia exits Denmark in $926m M&A deal.

Telefónica has partnered with the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind (ONCE) to build accessible immersive experiences for visually impaired people using the telco’s products and services. In a statement, the operator noted that the pair will integrate accessibility into offerings, as well as into the research carried out by the operator’s Web3 and metaverse area of operation. As part of the joint efforts, Telefónica and ONCE will aim to increase accessibility for users when playing games on its Movistar Immersive Experience app, when accessing audio-visual content and learning about its products. Another focus area will involve enhancing accessibility in virtual reality (VR) experiences, as well as exploring the use of AI for a number of activities, such as automatic visual description, and interaction with three-dimensional images and video sequences. Find out more.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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