What’s up with... Dell, Visible, Vodafone Idea

  • Dell boosts its 5G, Open RAN appeal
  • Visible might wish it could disappear after security breach
  • Vodafone Idea in talks for new funding

Dell’s latest pitch to the telco community, especially those needing large banks of servers for their 5G, Open RAN and edge deployments, and the latest security hit for a service provider are the lead items in today’s extensive news roundup.  

Dell Technologies has unveiled new products and partnerships to strengthen its 5G and Open RAN propositions for network operators. The new product lines include its Bare Metal Orchestrator, first software to come from its Project Metalweaver initiative, which helps with the automation and management of hundreds of thousands of servers by giving CSPs “the tools to discover and inventory servers, bring them online and deploy software, regardless of where they reside in the network.” It also unveiled ongoing work with Mavenir and VMware for Open RAN deployments, and unveiled a Reference Architecture for Wind River Studio for telco edge compute rollouts and management. Read more.  

Visible, the digital mobile service provider owned by Verizon, has suffered a security breach that led to unauthorized purchases being made on customer accounts, reports Ars Technica

Beleaguered Indian operator Vodafone Idea, which has received at least some partial respite from its debt woes recently, is reportedly in talks to raise up to $1 billion from the sale of a stake to private equity firms, according to The Economic Times

South Africa’s biggest telecoms operators and the country’s regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), are at daggers drawn over ICASA’s determination to rescind the increase in spectrum that was introduced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was always meant to be a temporary uplift, but consumers and businesses (SMEs in particular), have got used to much-improved services and the spectrum upgrades have resulted in quantifiable improvements in local, regional and national economies. When lockdowns were imposed in South Africa in March this year, service providers MTN, Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C experienced almost instant data traffic demand increases of 100 per cent and more. ICASA’s plan to cut spectrum with effect from midnight on October 31 has so enraged the service providers that Telkom, the former monopoly telco which is still 39 per cent state-owned, is taking the regulator to the High Court in Pretoria to prevent the spectrum downgrade. Siyabonga Mahlangu, the head of Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations at Telkom, says the withdrawal of the spectrum uplift will hit consumers and small businesses hard and will impact the “functioning of the national economy”. Unemployment in South Africa was running at 34.4 per cent per annum according to the latest figures published in August. It is still rising. Telkom’s case is that the temporary spectrum uplift should stay for as long as the country’s “National State of Disaster” remains in situ. Originally planned to be removed in June, it was extended again yesterday, this time to run until November 15. It is expected to be extended yet again, month-by-month, thereafter, something the government can do indefinitely under current emergency legislation. Mahlangu’s case is that “The new normal is characterised by large numbers of people working and studying from home and the use of online services. People and businesses rely on online applications to trade and interact. This requires broadband connectivity.” For its part, ICASA says the spectrum uplift will be stopped because it was always intended to be a temporary measure and operators should have planned for its ending. In a filed response to the case, ICASA writes that it would be “derelict in its duty if it were, by default, to perpetuate what is now becoming an anti-competitive, unfair and unjust spectrum licensing regime, under the guise of pandemic relief.” First dig yourself a deep hole, and then jump into it.

Yesterday at the White House in Washington DC, the Biden administration convened a virtual summit conference with 31 countries invited to participate in a manifestation of the US National Security Council’s Counter-Ransomware Initiative. Those present were Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Conspicuous by their absence were Russia and China. In classic Sam Goldwyn style, they had been pre-included out of participation. The agenda is focused on strategies and tactics of the proposed international coalition in countering ransomware attacks mounted either by cybercriminal organisations, individuals or “state actors.” The summit was arranged after, earlier this year, the US and other countries were hit by major cyber-incursions and extortions, many of which are believed to have originated in Russia and China (as well as North Korea and Iran). A US government spokesperson commented that the globe-spanning breadth of participants “highlights just how pernicious, transnational and global the ransomware threat has been.” The six-session, two-day summit will examine “national resilience, the countering of illicit finance, disruption and other law enforcement efforts, and diplomacy.” As far as the “diplomacy” part is concerned, the US administration say they already have direct contact with the Russian government via a “separate channel” for “very focused and candid discussions.” As for China, the giant panda in the room was simply ignored, presumably in the hope it would wander off in search of another bamboo forest in which to cause a rumpus.

Never say die... Fujifilm has launched the Sustainable Data Storage Initiative, highlighting how tape storage technology can significantly reduce the environmental impact of data centres. It claims data centres are under increased scrutiny for consuming large amounts of energy that result in increased CO2 emissions. The goal of the Sustainable Data Storage Initiative is to advocate for solutions that can reduce this environmental impact. More information can be found at Accelerating Green Datacenter Progress with Sustainable Storage Strategies.

Bridge Alliance and TM Forum are partnering to simplify the adoption of edge computing for global telecom companies. They aim to advance Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) as a growth engine for the telecom industry. MEC supports ultra-low latency applications such as cloud gaming, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles and augmented and virtual reality applications. The Bridge Alliance is driving Proof-of-Concept and live deployments of MEC services through its Federated Edge Hub connecting MEC platforms across its member operators, allowing them to easily onboard their respective edge platforms and deliver on-demand edge computing services regionally to support their customers. TM Forum is exploring MEC’s integration, interoperability, and service management challenges through its Open APIs and Catalyst rapid proof-of-concept programmes. You can find out more about both organisations and their MEC effort here...

And while we’re on MEC and Edge… IDC last week forecast that the multi-access edge cloud (MEC) software market will  grow to more than $16 billion in 2025 as telco MEC deployments increase. It points out that MEC build outs are being carried out by a broad cross-section of edge stakeholders, not just mobile operators. “Although edge investment is mostly related to 5G/MEC today, we expect edge spending to expand in the wireline market as cable MSOs, CDNs, and wireline service providers build edge platforms for low-latency, availability, and security for next-generation enterprise applications." said Ajeet Das, research director, Carrier Network Infrastructure at IDC.  

Wi-Fi 6 is set to lead the enterprise Wi-Fi market with 8.7 million access point shipments by 2023, according to ABI Research which expects that Wi-Fi 6 will lead the enterprise Wi-Fi market as enterprise access point shipments increase from 4.3 million in 2021 to 13.4 million in 2026, at a CAGR of 25%. Wi-Fi 6 brings with it advanced networking solutions from the likes of Broadcom, Celeno, Intel, MediaTek, NXP, On Semiconductor, and Qualcomm who provide support for a variety of verticals, including industrial manufacturing, hospitality, retail, government, and healthcare. It is expected that there will be rapid adoption in both Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices and infrastructure from a range of companies across the enterprise Wi-Fi market. Read more...

Another telco win for Oracle yesterday with the announcement that KPN has chosen Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite for its finance, supply chain management and human resources to help streamline the company’s business operations. Read more…

Infinera and Australia’s Telstra, have announced the deployment of Infinera’s coherent 800G solution across Telstra’s international network. The deployment follows Telstra using Infinera’s ICE6 800G coherent technology on its GX Series Compact Modular Platformover a dispersion-managed subsea cable spanning 2,940 kilometers between Hong Kong and Singapore. Telstra can now realize a 45% increase in capacity over previous-generation technology and 20 times the original design capacity of the cable. Read more…

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