What’s up with… Telenor & AWS, Nokia & Google Cloud, Telefónica Tech & IBM

Jan Hofmeyr (left), VP AWS EC2 Edge, with Amol Phadke (right), EVP and Group CTO of Telenor Group.

Jan Hofmeyr (left), VP AWS EC2 Edge, with Amol Phadke (right), EVP and Group CTO of Telenor Group.

  • Telenor teams with AWS for sovereign cloud strategy
  • Nokia and Google Cloud collaborate on telco API exposure for 5G 
  • Telefónica Tech and IBM partner on AI developments

In today’s industry news roundup: Telenor expands tie-up with Amazon Web Services and plans an initial $10m investment in “sovereign-by-design” cloud technology; Nokia and Google Cloud collaborate to offer developers faster 5G app creation with telco APIs; Telefónica Tech and IBM join forces to promote AI, analytics and data governance solutions; and much more!

Telenor has turned to existing hyperscaler partner Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help develop and implement its sovereign cloud strategy by combining the strengths of AWS’s “sovereign-by-design technology” and Skygard, the secure and energy-efficient datacentre facilities in Norway (currently under construction) in which Telenor is a strategic investor. The telco plans to invest NOK100m ($9.4m) during its first year of sovereign cloud collaboration with AWS: The partners will “collaborate to offer solutions to Norwegian enterprise customers [and] help to address their key sovereignty and security requirements.” In addition, Telenor plans to use the “same sovereign-by-design AWS infrastructure to host its internal workloads in compliance with Norwegian regulatory requirements,” and extend the collaboration into Sweden and Finland, the telco added in its announcement. “Telenor is strengthening its collaboration with AWS to power our next wave of growth and innovation,” noted Amol Phadke, EVP and group CTO at Telenor Group. “Building on our sovereign cloud posture, Telenor will unlock new opportunities to drive value for our customers and wider society,” he added. Jan Hofmeyr, VP of AWS EC2 edge, added: “Telenor and AWS have a shared commitment to innovation. We are excited to strengthen our collaboration by accelerating Telenor’s cloud transformation on AWS, and modernising Telenor’s datacentres with AWS infrastructure, starting with Sweden and Finland.” 

Nokia and Google Cloud are upping the ante when it comes to telco application programming interfaces (APIs) by speeding up the process of creating 5G applications. In a statement, the Finnish vendor noted that its work with Google Cloud will help developers worldwide by providing them with “the network software tools they need” to create “innovative new 5G enterprise and consumer applications” in a faster fashion. Specifically, Nokia’s Network as Code platform, together with a developer portal, will run on Google Cloud which, according to Nokia, will enrich the developer experience via Google Cloud data and generative AI solutions and capabilities, including Vertex AI and Gemini 1.5 Pro. Furthermore, this will allow developers to easily use AI in their applications and enhance productivity. The pair will pinpoint industry use cases to promote within the Google Cloud developer community, starting with healthcare. “Our developer community is a strong innovation driver globally, and we believe the telecom space offers significant value creation opportunities through new applications,” said Ankur Jain, VP of Google distributed cloud and global telco industry at Google Cloud. Read more.

Telefónica Tech, the Iberian telco giant’s digital technology and services unit, has joined forces with tech giant IBM to drive the deployment of AI, and to promote analytics and data governance solutions for enterprises. The agreement, which is initially limited to Telefónica’s home market of Spain, will see the pair focus their collaboration on a common goal to help customers deal with “the complexity of managing new technologies in a heterogeneous and changing environment” while extracting “the full value” of these technologies. In its statement announcing the move, Telefónica Tech referred to an IBM study that suggests almost half of the Spanish companies already working with AI have accelerated their investment in the technology in the past two years – which highlights a need for new tools and solutions to aid these companies’ digital transformation journeys. The Spanish telco’s digital technology division noted it will work with IBM to develop “an open, hybrid and multi-cloud platform, specialising in data management and AI to facilitate and accelerate business initiatives for customers” and the implementation of resources, training and certifications.

Eutelsat is to participate in the latest round of fundraising by Seraphim Space, a company that describes itself as a “global leader in SpaceTech investment”. The satellite company noted that it is partnering with Seraphim Space to “foster technological innovation within the space sector, supporting dynamic start-ups in Seraphim’s portfolio”, but did not reveal how much it plans to invest in the venture capital fund. The two companies will aim to support developments of advanced capabilities “to meet the growing market demand for global connectivity, Earth observation” and advanced data services.The funds raised from the second financing round for Seraphim Space will be go towards the use of AI in space data, in-orbit computing and space-enabled communications. Read more.

There has been a shift in the preferences of smartphone buyers, according to Omdia’s latest research, which found there was an increased interest in the low-end price segment, leading to the fastest growth ever recorded in the opening quarter of 2024. Phones priced at less than US$150 accounted for 120 million global shipments in the period, recording a 33% year-on-year growth, up from 90 million in the first quarter of 2023. It’s also worth noting that ultra-low-cost handsets, priced at $90 or less, grew by 87% in the period, to 34 million in the first three months of 2024. According to Omdia, a significant driving factor is a trend among mid-end phone buyers to either upgrade their new phone to higher-end models or downgrade to more affordable low-end smartphones. The research house has also found that the mid-tier segment of phones, priced between $151 and $600, saw “a significant decline” in early 2023 and has not yet recovered. In the first quarter of 2024, these smartphones accounted for 107 million shipments, down by two million from 109 million in the opening three months of the past year. At the same time, the high-end segment (which includes phones priced above $600) grew by three million units in the past year, reaching 73 million in the opening quarter of 2024. Find out more.

NEC has developed a compact mmWave distributed antenna that uses a radio-over-fibre system and aims to decrease power consumption and provide an affordable communication environment for indoor facilities. The Japanese company has used a 1-bit fibre transmission method, which allows for high-frequency analogue signals to be transmitted using an inexpensive electrical-to-optical converter for general purpose digital communications. According to NEC, this allows for a compact distributed antenna unit to be used at low cost. The company claimed its discovery can lead to “a stable millimetre-wave communication environment” that is “inexpensively achieved” in settings such as high-rise buildings, underground malls, factories, railways, indoor facilities and other obstacle-laden environments.

It’s already a big week for consolidation in the UK broadband sector… Hot on the heels of the news that Netomnia and Brsk are to merge, Telecoms Acquisitions Ltd (TAL) has announced it is acquiring, for an undisclosed sum, the retail subscriber base (about 2,000 customers) of Gigabit Networks, which will now focus on its wholesale activities. TAL – the holding company for Home Telecom, Fleur Telecom and Eclipse Broadband – has been building up scale by acquiring and growing various broadband operations, such as OpenFibre and Bloomtel: It recently acquired 2,800 residential broadband customers from EZE and added 2,600 customers organically in May alone. TAL CEO Nigel Barnett noted: “Our residential focus is working well for other ISPs we have agreed deals with. To quote two examples, we have quadrupled OpenFibre’s base in Hull in just eight months and our more recent acquisition of No One Internet has added a third more residential customers in just three months. Therefore, we are always looking for further opportunities and [are] open to any sort of discussions,” he added.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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