What’s up with… Oracle & Telefónica, 5G in China, Kaspersky Lab

  • Telefónica to host Oracle’s new $1bn Madrid cloud region
  • The 5G stats from China are staggering
  • US gives Kaspersky Lab the order of the boot

In today’s industry news roundup: Oracle strengthens its relationship with Telefónica as it plans a third cloud region in Spain’s capital; China is celebrating five years of 5G; Russian cybersecurity firm has been barred from the US; and much more!

Oracle is to invest more than $1bn to open a third cloud region in Madrid to “meet the rapidly growing demand for its AI and cloud services in Spain.” The IT giant noted that the cloud region will “enable Oracle customers and partners across all industries in Spain, including its prominent financial services sector, to migrate mission-critical workloads from their datacentres to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) while helping them address regulations like the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) and the European Outsourcing Guidelines (EBA, EIOPA, ESMA).” Telco giant Telefónica, a long-time cloud services partner for Oracle, will be the host partner for the new cloud region. “Our partnership with Oracle has been paying off for decades. We have a stronger position in the market, combining the best capabilities of both companies,” stated Sergio Sánchez, operations, network and IT director at Telefónica España. “On the one hand, we continue to migrate part of our mission-critical infrastructure to Oracle’s cloud to be more agile in delivering innovative products and services to our customers around the world. On the other hand, this is the third cloud region for which we have been trusted as a host partner, again positioning us as a leader in the datacentre industry,” added Sánchez. Oracle also offers a separate EU Sovereign Cloud with one region in Madrid “to help public and private sector customers with data and applications that are sensitive, regulated, or of strategic regional importance, move to the cloud,” noted the vendor, adding that “the Oracle EU Sovereign Cloud in Madrid is operated by EU-based personnel and supports workloads that fall under EU guidelines and requirements for sovereignty and data privacy.” Read more

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of 5G mobile networks and the provision of commercial 5G services in China. In June 2019, the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s powerful Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the first 5G commercial licences to China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Broadnet. Since then, according to official statistics, the technology, and its availability, has spread with remarkable speed, to the extent, apparently, that 5G has now become “a part of people’s daily lives and work” whilst having “revolutionised a wide range of industries”. That’s according to this report from the Chinese state-run news website China.org.cn, which describes itself as “an authorised, trustworthy and informative source for what’s happening in China”. It operates under the aegis of the State Council Information Office, and thus, is ultimately under the control of the politburo, so there is an evident political slant to this 5G report but, that said, some of the statistics provided are mind-boggling. Figures from the MIIT relating to the 5G sector at the end of this April (2024) show that there were 3.75 million installed 5G base stations nationwide, constituting 31.7% of the total number of mobile base stations in the entire country. Furthermore, the number of “5G-subscribing mobile phones” in China – many 5G service packages are bought in China in areas where the service is not yet available – has reached 889 million and so accounts “for 50.6% of all mobile phones in use in China”. The country has also fully embraced 5G-Advanced (5G-A) as the world moves towards the supposed nirvana of the “internet of everything”. Furthermore, 5G-A “will integrate with cloud computing, big data and AI” noted the report. What’s more, China Mobile “has already launched the world's first 5G-A commercial plan and will expand it to over 300 cities nationwide, laying the groundwork for the most extensive commercial 5G-A network worldwide. Based on the 5G fundamentals, China has also started research and development of 6G technology”. Of course it has. The report also claims that since the commercial launch of 5G, the technology has “directly generated a total economic output of some 5.6tn yuan (CYN) (US$787.62bn) and indirectly boosted economic output by 14tn CYN ($1.97 tn), an enormous but unsubstantiated figure. Thereafter, the report veers into overtly political territory, claiming that while 5G “has enhanced the competitiveness of Chinese industries, China’s progress has also had a profound impact on a global scale. Currently, China’s essential 5G standard patent claims account for 42% of the world’s total”. These figures “highlight China’s leading position in global 5G applications” and show it to be a “frontrunner not only in technology development but also in its application.” That’s why “any country that seeks to restrict the use of 5G products produced by tech titan Huawei and other Chinese companies or hinder chips trading with China is actually hampering the growth of its own telecommunications technology. This is clearly not a forward-looking approach”. That’s one way of putting it but, perhaps, not a view the US would share. It concludes: “Over the past five years, China’s 5G achievements show just how important it is to reframe the narrative around Huawei and other Chinese 5G developers and consider them potential collaborators. Engaging in targeted measures against these entities, or pressuring and coercing other countries to do so, is a misguided approach with misplaced targets.” Well, they would say that wouldn’t they? And that duly did. Happy birthday! 

File this one under “I can’t believe it took this long”... The Biden administration has invoked legislation passed when Donald Trump was president to ban the sale in the US of  antivirus software and cybersecurity products made by Moscow, Russia-headquartered Kaspersky Group. Commenting on a statement issued on 20 June by the US Department Bureau of Industry (BIT), the secretary of the Department of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, said it has been found that due to the Kremlin’s “direct influence” over the company, Kaspersky’s continued operations in the US present a national security risk that cannot “be addressed through mitigation measures short of a total prohibition.” Individual users and businesses that use Kaspersky software are “strongly encouraged to expeditiously transition to new vendors”. They have until 29 September to do so, although the blanket ban on the import or sale of Kaspersky products company becomes operative on 20 July. Warming to her theme, Raimondo added, “Russia has shown time and again they have the capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponise sensitive US information, and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to safeguard US national security and the American people.” The decision to stop Kaspersky in its US tracks follows earlier decisions to clip the company’s wings. The first, taken in 2017 by the Department of Homeland Security, ordered all federal agencies to discontinue the use of, and remove from all networks, any and all Kaspersky products. The second, in 2018, issued under the terms of the US National Defense Authorisation Act, prohibited the use of Kaspersky software and any other of the company’s products by any agency or person within the federal government. The third, in March 2022, was issued by the US telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), when it added Kaspersky to its “List of Communications Equipment and Services that Pose a Threat to National Security”. There’s history and intent right there, and the only surprise is that the new announcement has been so long in coming. In response, Kaspersky issued a statement of its own, indicating that it intends to exploit “all legally available options” to appeal against the prohibition (of which there are basically none) and denied absolutely that any of its products, services or actions has ever, or does, threaten the security of US networks or devices. Kaspersky has a presence in 31 countries and customers in some 200 countries and territories. It is believed that it provides cybersecurity and anti-virus products and services to 400 million users and 270,000 corporate clients globally. It is not known how many of them are in the US.

International communications platform operator Syniverse has launched its Global Services offering, which helps mobile operators implement interconnectivity agreements, conduct testing services (including voice over LTE [VoLTE] roaming testing), and achieve conformity with critical roaming standards. Mobile operators all over the world are “retiring their 2G and 3G networks to recoup portions of the wireless spectrum and avoid devoting resources to costly maintenance,” noted Syniverse in this announcement. “However, an operator must fully support VoLTE services before shutting down these networks so its subscribers can remain connected while roaming. For any roaming session to occur, the operator must reach agreements with roaming partners and then complete fully defined VoLTE roaming tests to ensure calls are handed off to newer technologies when users travel through areas that lack 2G or 3G service.” And as there are about 1,200 mobile operators globally, that’s quite a task. “Launching services with a roaming partner consumes time and resources that operators may not have,” noted John Wick (no, not THAT one…), chief product officer of Syniverse. “It can be difficult to procure testing experts, especially for VoLTE roaming, and extensive troubleshooting may be required before passing a test. Fortunately, we’ve demonstrated we can accelerate that process. We’ve achieved over 387 launches with roaming partners and are obtaining final commercial launch status in two to four weeks instead of six months. It’s why operators worldwide trust Syniverse to support their roaming services,” he boasted. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.