What’s up with… HPE & Nvidia, the telco AI alliance, Three UK & Ericsson

  • HPE and Nvidia team up on GenAI push
  • The Global Telco AI Alliance has officially formed a joint venture
  • Three goes greener with Ericsson 

In today’s industry news roundup: HPE is the latest company to get into bed with AI-fuelled behemoth Nvidia; the five telco members of the Global Telco AI Alliance have committed funds to a joint venture; UK mobile operator Three taps Ericsson for AI-enabled green network technology; and much more!

The founding parties of the Global Telco AI Alliance (GTAA) – Deutsche Telekom, e&, Singtel, SK Telecom and SoftBank – have signed a joint venture (JV) agreement at the DTW24 event in Copenhagen. The move follows the announcement by the telcos during MWC24 that a JV was to be set up for the development of telco-specific large language models (LLMs). “As initially announced, the JV will see equal investments from the founding parties to support its initial working capital requirements to develop the telco LLM that [will] help telcos improve their customer interactions via digital assists and other innovative AI solutions,” noted the alliance members, without specifying the size of the planned investments. “The JV will look at deploying innovative AI applications tailored to the needs of the founding parties in their respective markets, enabling them to reach a global customer base of approximately 1.3 billion across 50 countries. The telco LLM will be multilingual, comprising Korean, English, German, Arabic, and Bahasa, among other languages,” they added. The operators also took the opportunity at the event to showcase their “potential applications of an LLM for telco, focusing on contact centre and infrastructure use cases. They demonstrated how an AI-enabled LLM can enhance contact centre operations by generating real-time references for agents during calls and automatically handling post-call tasks. They also illustrated the model’s ability to provide answers to infrastructure operators’ questions, streamlining their workflows.” Read more

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nvidia, now the most valuable company in the world, have teamed up to offer a “portfolio of co-developed AI solutions and joint go-to-market integrations that enable enterprises to accelerate adoption of generative AI.” The Nvidia AI Computing by HPE portfolio includes HPE Private Cloud AI, which combines Nvidia AI computing, networking and software with HPE’s AI storage, compute and the HPE GreenLake cloud. The joint portfolio will be available through a “joint go-to-market strategy that spans sales teams and channel partners, training and a global network of system integrators – including Deloitte, HCLTech, Infosys, TCS and Wipro – that can help enterprises across a variety of industries run complex AI workloads.” HPE president and CEO Antonio Neri noted: “Generative AI holds immense potential for enterprise transformation, but the complexities of fragmented AI technology contain too many risks and barriers that hamper large-scale enterprise adoption and can jeopardise a company’s most valuable asset – its proprietary data. To unleash the immense potential of generative AI in the enterprise, HPE and Nvidia co-developed a turnkey private cloud for AI that will enable enterprises to focus their resources on developing new AI use cases that can boost productivity and unlock new revenue streams.” Find out more

Three UK has boosted the sustainability credentials of its network by deploying “next-generation AI-powered hardware and software solutions” from its vendor partner Ericsson. In a joint statement, the pair highlighted their work on improving network energy performance through a combination of energy-efficient radios, and the use of AI and data analytics. And towards the end of 2023, the British operator was among the first in the UK to deploy the Swedish vendor’s dual-band Radio 4490, which is said to consume less power and to be 25% lighter than previous models. This, the companies claimed, simplifies site access and accelerates site upgrades. In addition to the new radios, Three UK has also implemented “a series of software features” that it says consume less power per radio during low-traffic hours. Furthermore, advanced machine learning (ML), as well as passive cooling and power-saving features, have helped to autonomously switch off radio components across 4G and 5G networks when they are inactive. And, according to the two companies, their partnership has resulted in network energy-efficiency improvements of up to 70% at some sites. Find out more.

As anticipated (see this news roundup from last week), Vodafone Group has cashed in on its stake in Indus Towers, a wholesale operator of about 220,000 mobile towers across India. Vodafone has announced the sale of 484.7 million shares in the towers company, representing 18% of Indus’s share capital, leaving it with a 3.1% stake in the company. Vodafone is raising 153bn rupees (€1.7bn) in gross proceeds from the sale and will use the funds to help repay its existing lenders “in relation to the outstanding bank borrowings of €1.8bn secured against Vodafone’s Indian assets,” which includes a minority stake in India’s third-largest operator, Vodafone Idea. Vodafone sold the stake in large chunks to interested investors, including India’s second-largest operator, Bharti Airtel, which acquired shares equivalent to a 1% stake in Indus Towers, increasing its stake to 47.95%, according to this Mint report. Vodafone Idea, as we recently reported, is seeking to claw its way out of a financial hole and invest in its 4G and 5G networks in a bid to remain competitive with Airtel and market leader Reliance Jio.

Qualcomm has reportedly agreed to pay $75m to resolve a legal case brought against it by shareholders who accused the company of defrauding them by hiding practices of anticompetitive sales and licensing. Reuters reported that the company had filed a preliminary all-cash settlement with the federal court in San Diego. This is now awaiting approval by US District Judge Jinsook Ohta who certified the case as a class action in March 2023. The allegations suggest that Qualcomm artificially inflated its share price between February 2012 and January 2017 by describing its chip sales and technology licensing as separate businesses, despite bundling them to stifle competition. According to the report, Qualcomm and six individual defendants, including former CEOs Paul Jacobs and Steven Mollenkopf, denied wrongdoing, but agreed to settle.

In its latest move to expand its European footprint, Accenture has agreed to acquire Italian network services company Fibermind, which specialises in deploying fibre and 5G networks, and providing infrastructure engineering services. According to the company, the addition of Fibermind will help it offer network services to clients across multiple industries, including telecommunications, utilities and transportation. “The acquisition of Fibermind reaffirms Accenture’s commitment to continuously invest in strategic acquisitions that support and accelerate our clients’ transformations across key industry sectors in Italy,” noted Mauro Macchi, president and CEO of Accenture in Italy. On completion of the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, the company plans to offer “end-to-end network engineering services, delivering higher quality, greater innovation, and more rigorous cost management to our clients,” as well as deep industry knowledge and technology assets powered by automation, robotics, data and AI. Earlier acquisitions by Accenture in Europe include Arca, AFD.TECH and umlaut, which target scaling up the company’s infrastructure engineering, 5G and fibre capabilities.

The appeal of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) seems to have faded – at least temporarily, with global shipments of headsets plummeting by 67.4% year on year in the first quarter of 2024, according to the latest data from IDC. Although it did not give a breakdown of the number of headsets shipped in the period, the research house did note that this decline is not surprising, given that the market is transitioning to include new categories including mixed reality (MR – the company describes this as a device that occludes the user’s vision but provides a view of the real world with outward facing cameras) and extended reality (ER – employing a see-through display but mirroring content from another device or offering a simplistic heads-up display). “With mixed reality on the rise, expect strictly virtual reality headsets to fade in the coming years as brands and developers devise new hardware and experiences to help users eventually transition to augmented reality further down the line,” explained Jitesh Ubrani, research manager at IDC. He added that ER displays stand to gain consumer attention “as they offer a big-screen experience today while incorporating AI and heads-up displays in the near future.” IDC is bullish about the market later this year, expecting headset shipments to return to growth with a 7.5% year-on-year increase in shipments in 2024. This, it added, will be driven by newer headsets and lower price points.

To support the Australian government’s Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB) Taskforce initiative, which was set up in late 2023, Samsung Networks has provided its Mission Critical Push-to-X (MCPTX) solution for an ongoing trial, noted the vendor in this blog. “This trial is the country’s first involving MCPTX and interworking capabilities, and Samsung is showcasing its cross-regional efforts with Etherstack plc on a leading Australian mobile operator’s network,” stated the vendor. “The collaboration underscores the capabilities of Samsung’s industry-leading MCPTX in enhancing emergency responses, streamlining communication among first responders and ultimately keeping communities safer,” it added. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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