What’s up with... TIM & Open RAN, AT&T, Ubisense and Rakuten Mobile

  • Further Open RAN action in Italy from TIM
  • AT&T tops 80 million pre-paid mobile subs
  • Rakuten teams up with UK IIoT specialist

The latest Open RAN move from Italian national operator TIM and an uptick in post-paid mobile subs for AT&T take the top spots in today’s news roundup.  

Following lab tests in Turin and field tests in Faenza and Matera, TIM (Telecom Italia) has deployed Open RAN systems in Saluzzo, south-west Piedmont. “The Open RAN solution is used in a complex scenario, with live traffic and radio coverage over multiple frequency bands transmitted from several sites, using TIM tools and methodologies for optimal management and control,” notes the operator. The operator says it worked with JMA Wireless for RAN software components, Microelectronics Technology (MTI) for radio-frequency equipment, Dell Technologies for the hardware, and Cisco for transport technology for the deployment, while Italtel acted as system integrator. Read more.

AT&T has reported third quarter revenues of $39.9 billion, down by 5.7% year-on-year, reflecting the 31 July separation of the video business in the US, other divested businesses, and lower sales in the Business Wireline unit. “We continue to execute well in growing customer relationships, and we’re on track to meet our guidance for the year,” said John Stankey, AT&T CEO. “We had our best postpaid phone net add quarter in more than 10 years, our fiber broadband net adds increased sequentially, and HBO Max global subscribers neared 70 million. We also have clear line of sight on reaching the halfway mark by the end of the year of our $6 billion cost-savings goal.” The operator reported an increase of 1.2 million post-paid mobile customers to take the total to 80.25 million: The operator also has 19 million pre-paid mobile customers. To find out more, see this press release.

Rakuten Mobile has struck a deal to be the exclusive reseller in Japan of the advanced real-time location system (RTLS) and SmartSpace software platform developed by UK-based industrial IoT (IIoT) specialist Ubisense. “We are thrilled to partner with Ubisense and leverage the Rakuten Mobile cloud-native network to provide innovative industry leading IoT solutions to enterprise customers in Japan,” said Tareq Amin, CTO at Rakuten Mobile. The move clearly signals that Rakuten, which offers 4G and 5G services in Japan, is turning its attention to the development of an enterprise customer base. Read more

The PON scene has become slightly more complex to untangle as standards advance and as passive optical networks become the dominant fibre access architecure. As Strategy Analytics points out, most of the world’s fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services are provided over PONs and we’re now looking forward to its 6th generation by 2033. The analysis firm has laid out a road map for operators and recommends that they “should now be evaluating use cases and tracking their PON vendors’ progress” towards a 50G PON solution against a series of five-year planning cycles. Its report, Technology Roadmap for Passive Optical Networks: The Next Step is 50G PON observes the progress of 4th Generation (10 Gbit/s) PONs, and projects that the 5th Generation (50 Gbit/s) PON will be deployed in volume by 2026. That’s the road map: “Operators will deploy other flavors of PON, such as a 25 Gbit/s symmetrical variant, various wavelength division multiplexing schemes and even some 6th generation PONs,” notes the report’s author. “We think that these are outside the mainstream and will have a limited effect on the PON equipment market.”

Radio rules UK: Government regulations will likely be introduced to ensure UK networks – possibly including mobile networks - keep streaming UK radio stations after the switching-off of the traditional broadcast networks, according to the government’s new Digital Radio and Audio Review. The AM radio frequencies will likely be switched off first by around 2030, but FM (which is greatly appreciated for its clarity) will be protected for another 10 years or so. Without government protection, radio interest groups are concerned that technological changes may see radio streaming dropped or made more difficult to ‘tune into’ once the analogue radio frequencies are phased out. One worry is that smart speakers may provide a commercial incentive to steer listeners to particular stations. After all, “OK Google, turn on the radio” offers plenty of scope for the provider to default to its own favourite. The government is now going to ponder its options and consider legislation.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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