What’s up with… BT, US traffic trends, Telegram

  • BT turns to Broadpeak for next-gen content delivery
  • Mobile traffic volumes in the US are skyrocketing 
  • Telegram is gaining traction and heading for an IPO

In today’s industry news roundup: BT is deploying specialist streaming tech from French firm Broadpeak to underpin its new live content streaming service; US mobile network traffic volumes have leaped by 129% in the past five years, according to Verizon; messaging platform Telegram is heading for 1 billion users and an IPO; and much more!

BT has teamed up with French content delivery network (CDN) and video distribution technology specialist Broadpeak for the deployment of technology that will underpin the UK operator’s Multicast-Assisted Unicast Delivery (MAUD) solution, which has been “designed to be a more reliable, quality-focused and sustainable way of delivering live content over the internet” and was first announced late last year. Broadpeak’s nanoCDN multicast ABR (adaptive bitrate) system will be at the heart of MAUD, which is set to be put through its paces by “a number of major broadcasters and content companies” this year. “As more live events move online – or to online only – we are seeing a big increase in traffic,” noted BT’s chief security and networks officer, Howard Watson. “MAUD is a revolutionary development in how live video is delivered over the internet. It will improve video streaming experiences for viewers, delivering a more reliable, consistent picture, and increase content delivery efficiency for broadcasters and video service providers. We’re excited to partner with Broadpeak, a technology provider with a successful track record for multicast ABR innovation and deployments, to leverage their technology as part of the MAUD solution,” he added. The move makes sense to industry analyst Paolo Pescatore, who has tracked the development of the media delivery and telecom sectors for years. “BT has an extensive knowledge of traffic and the impact of video,” he noted, especially from its experience over the past decade with its BT Sport venture. “However, BT has learnt that it is best to partner to build solutions,” and the relationship with Broadpeak “represents a key step, as what BT is proposing is yet unproven. It is now up to Broadpeak to take BT’s MAUD concept and make it a commercial reality. All eyes will now be on the next test with broadcasters on a wider scale,” noted Pescatore in comments emailed to TelecomTV. “Broadpeak is one of the few players that stands out in a crowded market with a strong proven pedigree in delivery of video over next-generation networks,” added the analyst. The vendor’s multicast ABR solution has already been deployed by other telcos, including Bouygues Telecom in France and Orange Spain. News of the BT deployment will come as a welcome relief to Broadpeak, which has seen its share price tumble by more than 34% this year, though the new deal with the UK telco has given the French firm’s stock a 2% lift and it currently stands at €1.88 on the Euronext exchange. It’s also worth noting that the deployment of Broadpeak’s technology does not mean that BT will no longer use the CDN technology from Qwilt that it has already deployed in its Network Cloud platform – that remains in place, the operator told us. Read more

Total mobile network traffic in the US has increased by 129% over the past five years, according to a new report by Verizon. In its Consumer Connections Report, the US operator analysed data from third parties, such as data.ai and Apple Music, and used “de-identified and aggregate information about traffic on Verizon’s connectivity services”. It found video streaming services dominated the landscape in 2023, with TikTok being “far and away the most popular” – users in the US spent an average of 1 hour 42 minutes per day on the app, compared with approximately an hour a day on YouTube and about 39 minutes on Facebook. In the second half of 2023 alone, nearly half (47%) of all consumer mobile traffic was devoted to video. Verizon also found “a growing demand for seamless connectivity” both at home and on the go. City-level monthly mobile smartphone usage has risen by 34% in the past year – up from 11.5GB per line in January 2022 to 15.5GB per line in November 2023.

Privacy-conscious messaging platform Telegram has 900 million users (up from 500 million in 2021), is ramping up its revenues, heading towards profitability and considering an IPO in the not-too-distant future, according to a Financial Times interview with the company’s CEO Pavel Durov, his first media engagement since 2017. Rival messaging platform WhatsApp, which is part of the Meta empire, has 1.8 billion users worldwide. For more commentary on Telegram, see this LinkedIn thread.  

Telecom-focused Turkish systems integrator Odine, whose main telco customers appear to be Turkcell, Turk Telekom, Vodafone and New Zealand’s Symbio (formerly TNZI), has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) and plans to list its shares on the Istanbul stock exchange. The company, which specialises in helping network operators to migrate to cloud-native practices and platforms, says its IPO application has been approved and that its bankers will start the process of engaging with prospective investors on 13 March. While the company hasn’t yet responded to questions about how much it hopes to raise from the IPO, it has announced that a “substantial portion of the proceeds… will be allocated to support the company’s international growth objectives,” as well as funding operations and the completion of “innovative projects”. The company’s CEO, Alper Tunga Burak, noted: “This IPO approval marks a significant milestone for Odine, propelling us into an era of unprecedented growth and innovation. It promises to unlock the potential of groundbreaking technologies, including artificial intelligence, data analytics, and sustainable solutions, offering investors a chance to be part of the next generation of tech disruptors.” Odine is currently working with Red Hat to help Turkcell with its best-of-breed approach to telco cloud that will help the operator “break vendor lock-in”, explained Elif Yenihan Kaya, director of core network capabilities at Turkcell, in this video

US senators Ted Cruz and John Thune have proposed legislation that could once again allow the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to auction spectrum currently being used by the US government for commercial use. In a statement, the US Senate announced that the two politicians have put forward a Spectrum Pipeline bill, which would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to identify at least 2,500MHz of mid-band spectrum that can be reallocated from federal use to non-governmental or shared use over the next five years. Of this spectrum, half will need to be freed up in the next two years. Additionally, the proposal calls for the FCC to auction at least 1,250MHz of spectrum for “full-power commercial wireless services, including 5G” within six years, which includes at least 600MHz to be auctioned within three years. “To dominate in next-generation wireless technologies, stay ahead of our adversaries, and advance strong economic growth, the US must create a pipeline to expand commercial access to mid-band spectrum,” noted senator Cruz. Senator Thune likened spectrum to “the lifeblood” of wireless communications, adding that the legislation would ensure that “crucial mid-band spectrum is made available for commercial 5G and advanced Wi-Fi use, which is a win-win for American entrepreneurs and consumers.” The proposal was welcomed by the likes of Nathan Simington, a commissioner at the FCC, Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO of CTIA, a trade association representing the wireless industry in the US, and Verizon’s SVP for federal government relations and public affairs, Robert Fisher. FCC’s authority to auction spectrum expired in March 2023 because the Senate failed to enact the necessary legislation. This resulted in the FCC losing its authority to auction spectrum for the first time in 30 years. Upon the expiration, FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said that in its history, the FCC has held 100 auctions, raising more than $233bn in revenues.

The digital gap in South-east Asia is set to be addressed with the help of fixed wireless access (FWA) and satellite communication technologies. According to a new report from ABI Research, the FWA connectivity market in the region is expected to reach a value of US$1.33bn in 2028, while the adoption of satellite-enabled broadband services is expected to generate US$2.12bn in revenue in the same period. This uptake is attributed to the introduction of new FWA and satellite communication broadband service providers in the region, which is making plans more affordable. Indonesia and Thailand have been identified by the analyst company as the markets with the greatest potential to close the digital divide through the adoption of FWA and satellite connectivity, with a total of 3.17 million FWA connections and 2.58 million subscriptions to satellite-based broadband expected in 2028. And while FWA does not appear so suitable for the Philippines, ABI Research believes the country demonstrates “immense potential” for satellite communication services and expects it to be the largest market in the region in this segment in 2028. Find out more.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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