Huawei Partners Gemalto To Develop Mass Market NB IoT Solution


Digital security firm Gemalto and telecom gear maker Huawei, both of whom have significant presence in IoT, have joined hands to develop a mass market solution based on NarrowBand IoT (NB IoT) to help device manufacturers meet a growing demand for long-lasting low-power IoT modules.

Gemalto and Huawei’s semiconductor arm, HiSilicon – are working together to develop the next generation of modules that combine an extra level of security and consume very low power. By combining the expertise from both companies, these NB IoT modules will help manufacturers reduce the cost and size of their devices, and lengthen the battery life of the devices to up to ten years.

NB IoT has been developed to address lower bit rates and lower cost segments, and works virtually anywhere. It offers ultra-low power consumption enabling devices to be battery operated for periods of up to 10 years. Applications include smart parking sensors, intruder and fire alarms, personal healthcare appliances, tracking devices, and street lamps to name a few. According to ABI Research, NB IoT modules connecting objects to networks are forecast to represent over 20% of all cellular shipments by 2021.

“2017 is the year of commercial NB IoT rollouts for us, and we will be building 30 such networks in 20 countries worldwide by the end of the year. Huawei has been a major player in this arena, and we continue to capitalize on this vast opportunity,” said XiongWei, president of LTE solution, Huawei. “We look to supply the market with solutions that provide stable connectivity, low energy consumption, and cost efficiency. The network roll-out will now come with an enhanced integration and flexibility thanks to this collaboration with Gemalto.”

“The combination of our expertise in IOT cellular connectivity, and digital security, and Huawei’s high-performance NB IoT chipsets will help device manufacturers and service providers take the plunge into cellular IoT mass deployment thanks to a standardized solution,” said Suzanne Tong-Li, SVP Greater China and Korea for Mobile Services and IoT and China President, Gemalto. “Our collaboration simplifies the implementation of NB IoT projects combining solid security and flexibility.”

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SmarTone Trials FDD Massive MIMO With Ericsson Solutions


Ericsson and SmarTone, the leading mobile network operator in Hong Kong are trialing FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology as part of the operator’s network evolution plan towards 5G.

The trial, involving FDD Massive MIMO on 1800 MHz, represents the first of its kind for operators in Hong Kong. It is proving the capabilities of this key technology ahead of the live deployment in 2018 of AIR 3246, Ericsson’s new radio that can support Massive MIMO over 4G/LTE with Ericsson’s 5G Massive MIMO Plug-In.

Massive MIMO is a key technology that bridges network evolution from 4G to 5G, adding intelligent capacity and boosting user experience. Massive MIMO on FDD yields a multi-fold increase of network capacity and increase user throughput by up to five times, boosting performance for end users.

Stephen Chau, Chief Technology Officer of SmarTone, says: “Our extension of the strategic partnership with Ericsson in October last year includes a five-year network evolution plan towards 5G. This trial represents a significant milestone in our collaboration, and reinforces SmarTone’s leadership in the network evolution journey. Ericsson’s FDD Massive MIMO solution will play an instrumental part in providing our customers in dense urban environments with enhanced user experiences they have come to expect from SmarTone.”

Nishant Batra, Head of Product Area Network Infrastructure, Ericsson, says: “We are working closely with SmarTone to develop, trial, and deploy key 5G technologies that will further enhance the user experience. The recent LAA field trial, and now the trial of FDD Massive MIMO, enable us to jointly shape the next-generation network technology.”

Ericsson has recently launched its first radio, AIR 3246, supporting FDD Massive MIMO for both 4G and 5G. The technology enables operators – especially in metropolitan areas – to bring 5G to subscribers using today’s mid-band spectrum and boost capacity in their LTE networks.

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Docomo, Huawei Test 5G For URLLC


NTT Docomo announced today that it has conducted the world’s first successful outdoor trial of fifth-generation (5G) mobile technologies for ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) using a 4.5 GHz system developed in collaboration with Huawei.

The trial simulated a realistic environment involving a stationary mobile terminal that received signals at distances of 0.8 to 1 km from the base station. During the trial, DOCOMO achieved an over-the-air latency of less than one millisecond together with a packet transmission success rate of more than 99.999%, which are required for URLLC as defined by 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) and ITU-R (International Telecommunication Union – Radiocommunication Sector). Similarly, ultra-reliable low-latency communications were also achieved at distances of approximately 0.3 km to 0.6 km from the base station, when the mobile terminal was moving at approximately 25 km/h. These successful results bring DOCOMO one step closer to realizing a much-awaited commercial 5G communications network for mobile devices, which the company hopes to launch in 2020.

A combination of several key technologies underpinned the success of the trial, in which the high reliability and low latency requirements of URLLC were achieved in a wide-area testing environment. The first is technology to always retransmit radio signals irrespective of the terminal’s radio conditions, ensuring high reliability of transmissions. Antenna diversity technology was also used to ensure the high-quality reception of signals. Finally, a new radio frame structure incorporating extremely short transmission time slots was employed to reduce over-the-air latency.

DOCOMO is forging ahead with its development of 5G services that will require far higher reliability and lower latency than ever before, including services for remote control, tactile communication, augmented reality and much more. Going forward, DOCOMO will continue to collaborate with world-leading vendors in its research and development of advanced 5G communications technologies.

DOCOMO achieved an over-the-air latency of less than one millisecond together with a packet transmission success rate of more than 99.999%, for stationary and mobile user terminals under the following conditions.

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SAP Approaches US Authorities Over Gupta Family Scandal


World’s second largest software firm SAP has reached out to the US legal authorities as well as the SEC over its alleged involvement in a scandal linked to South Africa’s highly controversial Gupta family.

It has been alleged that the German software maker has paid $6.8 million in kickbacks to companies linked with Gupta family to secure business contracts from couple of state-run firms in South Africa.

SAP said on Thursday it has reported itself to the US Department of Justice and Security Exchange Commision under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“SAP had initiated its voluntary disclosure on July 13, 2017, and that SAP has committed to full and complete cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” the company said in a statement.

The firm also has sacked three employees who are believed to have some involvement in the corruption charges. Though nothing has been proved yet, an exhaustive investigation is underway.

What Is The SAP Gupta Family Scandal

In July this year the software major was accused of having paid 94 million Rand or $6.8 million to CAD House – a Gupta family owned company – to secure contracts from two government owned firms – Transnet and Eskom.

SAP admits to have paid this amount but says the payments were part of the ‘commissions’ it pay to third parties.

“SAP provided software and received revenue totaling approximately ZAR 660 million (approximately USD 48 million), and paid commissions to entities currently understood to be Gupta-related totaling approximately ZAR 94 million (approximately USD 6.8 million),” SAP noted in the statement.

The deal goes back to between December 2014 and November 2016 when SAP bagged two deals to supply software solutions to Transnet – a state owned rail and port operator, and two contracts for sale of software to Eskom – the state owned power company.

Again, between December 2016 and June 2017, SAP bagged two more contracts to provide software and services solutions to Eskom.

However, all these contracts were bagged through the help of the Gupta Family conntrolled firm.

SAP admits to have bagged these contracts through this company but pledges innocence of not knowing that the company is related to the controversial Gupta Family.

Who’s This Gupta Family

The controversial Gupta Family has its origin in India – from Saharanpur in UP, but the family has now settled in South Africa and one of the richest business houses in the country. The family , brothers Atul, Rajesh and Ajay – has close relations with President Jacob Zuma and has business interests in mining, software, textile, software and investments. The local media as well as the opposition political party in the country says the Gupta Family runs a shadow government in the country.

The family has been accused of having involvement in numerous scandals and corruptions in the past. Both president Zuma and the family, however, have always refuted all such allegations.

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US Cellular expands 5G tests with Ericsson to 28GHz

us cellular

US Cellular and Ericsson have completed joint testing of various 5G use cases at 28GHz. The tests, a significant step toward the launch of a 5G network, were conducted in rural and suburban environments in Madison, Wisconsin.

The trials were conducted under a variety of real-world conditions, and they achieved peak throughput speed of 8.5 Gbps. In addition, virtual reality was tested, achieving peak speeds of 4 Gbps. This virtual reality test was one of the highlights of the trial, as it proved how the ultra-high speeds and low latency of 5G will enable VR applications. The companies also tested augmented reality, advanced beamforming and massive MIMO.

The live over-the-air trials expanded on 5G trials between the two companies in 2016 that achieved 9 Gbps at 15GHz, stated Ericsson.

Michael S. Irizarry, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, US Cellular, says: “This was an important trial for us to understand the propagation characteristics and path loss at 28Ghz, and we are pleased with our learnings. Our customers deserve to have a network that keeps up with their lifestyle, so we are constantly working to ensure that they will always have access to the latest technology and data speeds available.”

Niklas Heuveldop, Head of Market Area North America, Ericsson, says: “5G activities continue to accelerate across North America as all operators prepare for deployments. US Cellular is aggressively testing 5G to determine how to best leverage the new capabilities for its customers. Working with US Cellular on this series of 5G trials has been greatly beneficial for Ericsson as we continue to explore innovative applications that 5G networks will enable.”

According to the most recent Ericsson Mobility Report, approximately 25 percent of all subscriptions will be 5G in North America in 2022, representing the highest market penetration in the world.

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Avnet Unveils LoRaWAN IoT Solutions At Cisco IoT Conference


Avnet Asia Pacific showcased its end-to-end LoRaWAN IoT solutions at the recent Cisco Next Intelligent IoT Generation Conference 2017, held at the Hong Kong Science Park.

Avnet demonstrated various LoRaWAN applications that ranged from disaster prevention and smart agriculture to healthcare alert systems, allowing participants to explore myriad possibilities of the LoRaWAN-enabled IoT ecosystem to drive workplace insights and empower decision-making. These applications are made possible using the low-cost, versatile, and easy-to-use LoRa kit developed by Avnet.

Frederick Fu, President of Avnet Asia Pacific said, “Avnet’s strong technical and design teams across Asia help customers to optimize their IoT solutions. We offer an extensive and connected ecosystem, bringing together the most reliable suppliers and different LoRaWAN gateways, such as Cisco, to leverage the different know-how, helping our customers bring new products to market. Avnet will continue to invest in the IoT space as we continuously enhance our capabilities as a technology partner that provides customers with an end-to-end value-added approach to their systems integration.”

“Cisco has been helping businesses and cities around the world to realize the potential of IoT and unlock the power of data in their ‘things’, and we are grateful for the support from our valuable partners along this journey. Avnet is an important partner for Cisco’s ‘Digital Living Lab’ campaign, which is our first pilot program in Hong Kong aiming to build a truly smart digital society, leveraging LoRaWAN and Cisco Kinetic. We hope that more businesses and citizens would be benefitted through IoT as they live, work, play and learn,” said Mr. Argon Ho, General Manager of Cisco Hong Kong and Macau.

A Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) is a type of wireless telecommunication wide area network designed to allow long range connectivity at low power, to increase the battery life of devices such as sensor nodes. Its wide coverage increases the scale of data collection and the range of deployment. LoRaWAN is one of the technologies under LPWAN.

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Airtel May Acquire 9Mobile In Nigeria, Submits EoI


Country’s largest operator Bharti Airtel has shown interest in acquiring Nigerian telecom operator 9Mobile, the country’s fourth largest telco. The Sunil Mittal-led telecom behemoth has already submitted expressions of interest regarding the same.

Some 16 firms have submitted their expressions of interest (EoI) by the deadline including Africa’s largest telco MTN, ntel and privately held Bua Group, couple of media reports said.

However, it is believed that Airtel seems to be the front runner among them.

A query regarding the same to Airtel remained unanswered by the time the story is filed.

9Mobile was earlier known as Etisalat Nigeria but the UAE based Etisalat Group had surrendered its stake in the firm in July and had asked its Nigerian partner not to use its brand name for the telco. The operator since rebranded itself as 9Mobile.

Etisalat exited the Nigerian market as its debt-laden Nigerian unit was unable to pay up a loan of $1.2 billion that it had taken from a group of 13 banks.

The firm was at the verge of collapse but Nigeria’s banking authority, the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened and forced a change in management. This led to Etisalat’s surrendering of its entire stake – 45% – in Etisalat Nigeria or 9Mobile.

Why It Makes Sense For Airtel
Nigeria is the largest telecom market in Africa with little above 150 million subscribers. Airtel Nigeria is the third largest operator in the country with 19% market share and a subscriber base of 34 million. Leading at the table is MTN with 47% market share with around 61 million subscribers. Globacom is placed at third position with around 37 million customers and a market share of 21%.

Acquiring 9Mobile would add around 20 million subscribers to Airtel’s kitty taking the total user base to 54 million – slightly lower than market leader MTN. Also the market share owuld increase significantly. Besides, Airtel holds a fine chance to become the market leader in few quarters in terms of subscriber base as for the last three quarters Airtel is the only operator that is seeing net subscriber additions. All other operators are seeing a decline, and interestingly MTN is seeing the steepest fall in subscriber numbers.

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Singtel Launches Managed SDN Solution For Enterprises


Singtel, Singapore’s telecom operator and partner to Airtel in India, on Monday launched its new network solution – Managed Software-Defined Branch (SD Branch) to support enterprises’ evolving networking needs across the globe. Highly scalable and cost-efficient through a “white box” or generic hardware, Singtel SD Branch empowers enterprises in managing multiple and virtualised network functions at their existing sites or when they expand into new branch offices.

With Singtel SD Branch, enterprises are assured of enhanced security and optimal performance of their networks and applications. They can better monitor network usage and issues real-time.
Enterprises can also add new functions, such as unified threat management, to the same hardware without incurring additional installation charges. These will in turn reduce their capital and operating expenditures.

“Many enterprises today deal with challenges of complex hybrid WAN architecture encompassing private and public Internet networks. Singtel SD Branch provides a way to spin up and take down services seamlessly, offers full service visibility and manageability up to the application layer. This simplifies their WAN infrastructure, enabling agile managed network solutions to keep pace with growing business needs in different geographical regions,” said Goh Boon Huat, Vice President, Global Products at Singtel Group Enterprise.

Singtel SD Branch is available globally and integrated seamlessly with Singtel’s underlay assets of submarine cables, IP VPN network of 428 Points of Presence, and its Global Internet service in more than 200 countries. Developed based on the network functions virtualisation (NFV) concept, Singtel SD Branch is the latest addition to Singtel’s comprehensive suite of next generation SD network solutions following the launch of its SD-WAN in 2015 and cloud-based NFV service last year.

Embedded with Singtel’s Security by Design, enterprises’ network services are protected against security breaches. Singtel’s SD network solutions will help enterprises meet their WAN requirements, and employ a consistent and comprehensive unified portal for end-to-end monitoring, analytics, and visibility into all of their networks and application services. Enterprises are also able to provision new services and scale their network bandwidths on demand.

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Singtel And Ericsson To set Up 5G Center of Excellence In Singapore


Singtel and Ericsson will jointly establish a Center of Excellence (CoE) to facilitate 5G development and deployment in Singapore. The new technology is expected to roll out globally from 2020 and will deliver massive connectivity, ultra-low latency, gigabit speeds, and enable advanced applications such as smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, and autonomous vehicles.

Co-funded by Singtel and Ericsson with an initial investment of 2 million Singapore Dollars over the next three years, the CoE aims to spearhead the development of Singapore’s 5G mobile network infrastructure to support future Smart Nation initiatives. It will also be open to Optus, and Singtel’s regional associates across Asia and Africa to encourage knowledge sharing within the Singtel Group.

An integral part of CoE’s strategic goal is also to help industries and enterprises understand the value of 5G in transforming their business and the importance of shaping their long-term planning. This first-of-its-kind collaboration in Singapore will feature four pillars: upskilling, demos, live field trials and collaborations with tertiary institutions.

“We’re pleased to partner Ericsson to enhance our 5G core competencies and create a robust ecosystem that will allow Singtel and our enterprise customers to benefit from the anticipated growth opportunities 5G will bring. We invite customers in various verticals, such as transportation, port operations and next-generation manufacturing, to start shaping their new digital business models with us,” said Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel.

Activities will kick off in the later part of 2017, starting with Ericsson providing 5G expertise and conducting workshops, followed by field testing and hands-on experience to equip more than 100 Singtel engineers with critical competencies in designing and operating a fifth generation network.

Various demonstrations will be set up in Singtel’s Comcentre headquarters to showcase future 5G application possibilities such as, immersive experience on Augmented Reality, enablement of haptic feedback in surgical operations, and remote medical education.

Starting next year, a mobile 5G test bed will be deployed to carry out live field trials with key enterprise customers.

Singtel will also engage research and tertiary institutions on potential collaboration opportunities to test 5G radios and possible applications that can benefit from the high speeds and low latency provided by the technology.

Martin Wiktorin, President and Country Manager for Singapore, Brunei & Philippines, Ericsson, says: “Together with Singtel, we plan to set up a 5G test bed in 2018 for trials with key enterprise customers, with the objective of enabling a strong foundation to help design Singapore’s 5G future.”

The new technology is seen as an important enabler for enterprises, having the potential to transform industries such as manufacturing, public safety, energy & utilities, transport, automotive and health care. It will also accelerate operational efficiencies to enable process transformation and new business models.

For example, port operators can use the technology to provide remote control of Autonomous Guided Vehicles within port operations and improve platooning reliability, which will help boost port operations efficiency. The use of sensors and technologies such as drones and augmented reality enabled by 5G can be used for predictive maintenance and enhance safety of port workers.

According to the Ericsson Report on 5G Business Potential released earlier this year, the industry digitalization will provide a number of opportunities and boost annual revenue of mobile operators by $582 billion from the year 2026. 5G-enabled industries, such as energy/utilities and public transport will enable operators to increase revenues by 34 percent by 2026.


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Nokia To Shut Down Ozo VR Unit, Layoff 300 Employees


The poor growth of the virtual reality industry across the globe has prompted Nokia Technologies to shut down its own Ozo VR business unit that produces VR cameras, audio and related services. The closure of this business also means handing out pink slips to employees who are working for this unit across the US, Finland and the UK.

“The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing customers,” Nokia said in a statement.

It means the Finnish company is npot going to put anymore money into this loss making business.

“In digital media, the slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities,” the statement added.

In terms of layoff the company said it will affect around 310 of the total 1090 employees working in Nokia Technologies across various markets. To start the process, Nokia has already invited employee representatives of Nokia Technologies in Finland to cooperation negotiations.

“Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity,” said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies. “While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected.”

While announcing the closure of Ozo VR, the company said it would now focus more on digital health and solutions developed by its health care business from Withings. Nokia Technologies will also focus on growing brand and technology licensing while leaving its successful patent licensing business untouched.

“The shift deepens Nokia’s commitment to fully leverage its digital health portfolio acquired through the purchase of Withings in 2016. Through a more focused, more agile digital health business, Nokia aims to have larger impact with consumers and the medical community,” it said.

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