What’s up with... Telefónica & NEC, TIM, Vodafone

  • Telefónica and NEC prep Open RAN trials in four markets
  • TIM also advances its Open RAN activities
  • Vodafone links digital tech to net zero

A welter of Open RAN activity in Europe and Latin America and a push to put tech at the heart of the UK’s sustainability agenda are at the top of today’s new pile. 

Telefónica has teamed up with NEC to conduct pre-commercial Open RAN trials in the operator’s four main markets of Spain, Germany, the UK and Brazil. “Following the successful milestones achieved through the trials in Telefónica Germany and the UK, under this agreement, NEC will serve as the prime system integrator to implement and conduct trials of multi-vendor-based Open RAN solutions with the Telefonica group’s operating companies in four global markets, planned to scale to a total of at least 800 sites for commercial use starting in 2022.” NEC will provide some of its own technology, including its open 5G massive MIMO radio units with advanced beamforming, as well as integrate network elements from a number of Telefónica’s Open Ran partners. In addition, Telefónica and NEC will collaborate in validating and implementing cutting-edge Open RAN technologies and various use cases at the newly established Telefónica Technology and Automation Lab in Madrid. For further details, see this announcement.

The Spanish giant isn’t the only major European operator with Open RAN news today. TIM, which along with its Spanish peer and others is one of the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on The Implementation of Open RAN Based Networks In Europe, has taken further steps on the road to radio access network disaggregation. Following its initial trial deployment in Faenza, announced in April, it has also set up a trial network in the southern city of Matera with help from Mavenir, MTI, Dell Technologies, Intel and VMware. The Italian operator has also been testing 5G standalone Open RAN capabilities in its Turin labs, and plans to deploy this as part of its Matera network.  Read more

Vodafone is pushing the UK government to put “fast deployment of digital technology at the core of its forthcoming net zero strategy,” and has produced a report to illustrate how much green goodness could be harnessed by IT and comms deployment. ‘Connecting for Net Zero’ runs through the usual ways and means to salami-slice reductions in the UK’s CO2 output, but what’s particularly noteworthy is that everything isn’t ascribed to the deployment of 5G, which is what you would normally expect from a big mobile operator. Vodafone is pretty close to a converged operator now, but even so the fact that the report contains lines like “digital technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and smart building solutions will cut emissions in smart factories through faster and more efficient production lines and increased energy efficiency” without any 5G name-checking is impressive. Read more.

ETSI has released three major specifications and reports developed by its Zero-touch network and Service Management (ZSM) group. One defines end-to-end network slicing management and provides an orchestration architecture blueprint, while a second specifies the enablers for closed-loop automation. The general security aspects related to the ZSM framework and solutions, and potential mitigation options are introduced in a third. The ETSI ZSM group’s overall goal is to define a future-proof, end-to-end operable framework, solutions and core technologies which would enable zero-touch automation. The autonomous networks should be able to self-manage and self-organize (configuration, healing, assurance, optimization, etc.) without human intervention beyond the initial transmission of intents, it claims. Read more…

Totogi, the public cloud-based real-time charging platform startup that has been funded to the tune of $100 million by TelcoDR, says it has “achieved the number one ranking on TM Forum’s Open API Certification Leaderboard. Totogi reached Platinum Certification in a record time of four months since it certified its first TM Forum Open API in June 2021, and it becomes only the second company to achieve Platinum Certification for conforming to 20 or more Open APIs.” The company notes in this announcement

MobiledgeX has produced a video to show how it is working with Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Continental, and the GSMA Telecom Edge Cloud initiative to support road safety and intelligent transportation applications across the edge networks of multiple operators. “For Continental’s smart mobility solutions, it is critical to have low latency for safe and efficient operations on an edge compute infrastructure in real world scenarios,” noted Dr. Snigdhayan Mahanta, Product Owner (Research & Advanced Engineering) Automotive Technologies at Continental. “In this trial scenario, two road users approach an intersection simultaneously. The Continental algorithm runs on the backend and continuously computes the probability of a collision between the users and emits a timely warning, if necessary. We are excited to report a significant performance improvement in latency of the application. This is an important milestone for the delivery of intelligent transport services toward an autonomous mobility future.” Check out the video here

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