Revenues for the cloud-native IMS VoLTE core will accelerate in 2019 to more than 60 percent growth over 2018 and Nokia remained the number one vendor in 3Q18 in this segment, according to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group.

“Moving to the cloud with cloud-native software is now a material part of the IMS VoLTE core revenue as service providers prepare their networks for 5G,” stated David Bolan, Senior Analyst at Dell’Oro Group. “The same IMS VoLTE core will be used in 5G, paving the way for a more robust and resilient network.”

“The VoLTE outlook for 2019 looks bright with several announcements during the quarter: Nokia is upgrading part of China Unicom’s VoLTE network, T-Mobile will use Ericsson as one of their VoLTE suppliers, and Telefónica Deutschland selected Mavenir for a VoLTE upgrade. These are multi-year modernization contracts transitioning to cloud-native virtual network functions in order to support more cost-efficient network operations, enabling faster scaling of capacity as well as faster deployment of new services in LTE and 5G,” Bolan continued.

 - Nokia maintains number one ranking, followed by Huawei, Ericsson, and ZTE.

 - VoLTE in the Asia Pacific region rose to nearly half of the worldwide licenses.

 - New VoLTE-based devices are gaining traction in smartwatches, voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), voice on IoT (LTE Cat-M1), and video calling over LTE (ViLTE).

The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced that today (Wednesday, December 19th) will be the official Digital Day in the country and will close all of its branches across the country for one day.

All of STC’s services will remain available free of charge through MySTC App, self-service machines and STC 900, an interactive messaging service.

The Director-General of Corporate Communications, Mohammed bin Rashid Abaalkhail, stated that the adoption of the Digital Day aims to encourage the use of digital channels, enhance performance efficiency and improve customer experience, especially after observing the high levels of customer satisfaction due to the provision of services via the digital platforms.

Furthermore, Abaalkhail pointed out that the “Digital Day” highlights STC’s commitment to play a pivotal role in enabling digital transformation in line with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030. He then mentioned that STC has launched an innovative digital store last month which is the first-of-its-kind in the Kingdom. The store relies on international best practices to enrich the customer experience 24 hours a day using self-service machines.

MySTC smart app is designed to meet customers’ various needs, whereas the self-service machine offers around 37 services for the fixed and mobile phones. On the other hand, the STC 900 messaging service enables the customer to receive answers for the inquiries and questions associated with his/her number in an interactive way, and gives him/her the option to enable the various services and packages.

Physical industries are rapidly transforming on an unprecedented scale with digitization becoming a critical priority. End-to-end 5G network slicing is promised to be a growing part of that transformation but mobile service providers must change all aspects of their business before they address it. 

ABI Research forecasts that network slicing stands to create approximately US$66 billion in value for enterprise verticals including manufacturing, logistics, and transportation by 2026.

5G network slicing has become the focus of much attention in part due to its intrinsic ability to afford flexibility and dedicated resources tuned to different industrial use cases. Legacy networks and wired technology dominate in the fragmented industrial environment of today, a rigid arrangement that is not conducive to high productivity levels.

“Industrial segments such as manufacturing, logistics, and automotive are pursuing digitalization and automation with vitality and substantial investments. 5G network slicing aims to serve as a stepping stone to drive productivity growth and enable the high-performance connectivity that underpins the dynamic, secure, and reliable interconnection of industrial systems and machinery,” said Don Alusha, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.

Despite illustrating substantial growth in the coming years and reaching US$66 billion by 2026, network slicing revenues will be a mere 6% of total mobile service provider consumer revenues during the same year. Making this a much bigger opportunity and one that provides major growth prospects will require mobile service providers stepping out of their comfort zone: they will need to radically improve their marketing messages to enterprise verticals, they will need to change their terminology and language to their B2B clients, the will need to invest in Proof of Concepts in previously unexplored areas, they will need to engage in new brand partnerships and finally, they will need to invest in creating customized solutions for enterprise verticals.  

The adoption of 5G network slicing for manufacturing alone is expected to create a US$32 billion of value, at a CAGR of 96% through 2026. The second biggest revenue opportunity lies in the logistics sector, where the market is projected to increase from US$65 million in 2019 to US$20 billion in 2026, at a CAGR of 127%.

“Our projections point to a healthy growth outlook but except for Telefonica, BT, and Deutsche Telekom, there is not much market activity of substance. The MSP ecosystem extends beyond this trio of operators, so we anticipate the wider community to start addressing enterprise verticals and entering an exploration phase in the coming years,” Alusha concluded.

UK's alternative wholesale fiber access network operator CityFibre announced that it has put in place a debt package of £1.12 billion from seven major financial institution.

Proceeds from this infrastructure debt package will be used to fund the first part of CityFibre’s £2.5 billion investment plan, which will see it roll-out full fibre to five million homes, a third of the Government’s target of 15 million homes by 2025.

This is the largest debt financing package dedicated to full fibre rollouts in the UK’s history and represents an important milestone in CityFibre’s plan to improve the country’s digital future, claims the Company. The clear support of some of Europe’s largest financial institutions is a strong endorsement of CityFibre’s strategy and further validates its business model.

The debt package will be used to fund the deployment of the first two million homes of CityFibre’s five million homes target and will expand CityFibre’s existing full fibre networks in 37 previously announced towns and cities nationwide. As well as connecting homes, CityFibre’s full fibre network is designed to serve all businesses and public sector sites, provide a superior backbone for mobile operators’ existing locations, enable the rollout of 5G and Internet-of-Things technology and offer transformative, future-proofed connectivity to those joining the Gigabit City Club.

Terry Hart, CFO, CityFibre
CityFibre’s target to reach five million homes by 2025, as well as thousands of businesses and public sector sites, will catalyse huge economic growth in regional towns and cities across the country.

If there is one recommendation for today’s corporate CIOs, it’s this: buckle up and get ready for a longer and more aggressive trip into the clouds. Speak to any industry analyst who covers cloud computing and the trend lines show that the consumption of cloud services is only going to grow over the coming years. In recent analyst reports, experts expect that almost half of IT spending will be on cloud-based tech through 2018, with that number reaching nearly three-quarters by 2020. Similarly, analysts speculate that more than half of enterprises will have fully articulated an organization-wide digital transformation platform strategy by 2020, with the cloud acting as a central component for those initiatives. Let’s take a look at a few cloud trends that we expect to come into play for 2019 and beyond.

#1: As a Service, As You Wish

Driven by cost models, easier access, scalability and the shift toward a more opex-centric model, it’s obvious that the number of cloud-based offerings in public and private sectors will grow in 2019. We expect to see more organizations take advantage of the simplicity and high-performance that the cloud guarantees. For telecom operators, this includes the potential of shifting what have traditionally been in-house business models - either homegrown or supported third-party vendors - to a cloud-based as-a-service model.

Look at traditional business support systems, for example, which either reside in-house or are supported by a third party via a managed services model. The next iteration is the move to the cloud, in which critical transactions infrastructure sits in the cloud. This shift allows operators to launch new cloud-centric services, such as B2B offerings, SD-WAN and other services in as little as 8 weeks. Compared to the traditional 6-12 months that were required with a self-deployed solution and the business outcome for the cloud is clear.

#2: Living on the Edge

Paul Hughes,
Director of Strategy,

By moving up the value chain beyond the cloud, the industry is already starting to look beyond the centralized nature of where the cloud is today. It hasn’t taken long for a large percentage of cloud computing transactions to become monopolized by so few business entities. Today, service providers, media companies and enterprises rely on just four companies for the majority of their infrastructure compute, storage and related machine learning functions. Because there are a few 800-lb gorillas maintaining dominance in the centralized cloud computing arena, the edge is where things actually start to get interesting.

Users get better performance or experiences when the transaction nature or delivery is managed near the source of the data, rather than hundreds of miles away from a large data center; this is where edge computing comes into play. Most digital operators have already invested time, labor and equipment upgrades to ensure that last-mile broadband delivery is ready for new digital services. Bringing the computing power to the edge helps ensure that all connected devices like digital assistants and AR/VR gaming systems, as well as video security, IoT or OTT services can be supported effectively. Managing the tremendous amount of static data will inevitably become the growth engine for new services, including expanded enterprise cloud applications and other B2B services infrastructure markets.

#3: Hybrid Cloud is a Stepping Stone, but not Without Unified Orchestration

Because many car buyers have concerns about the range of electric cars, the plug-in hybrid vehicle has become the stepping stone to a fully electric vehicle. The same is true with enterprises that are looking to engage with more cloud-centric technology. Taking the leap into a full cloud transformation is daunting and has proven to be more challenging for some than others. A solution to this complexity is the hybrid cloud, a cloud computing environment that uses a combination of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with robust domain orchestration between the two platforms.

Many companies use in-house, onsite architectures as well as third-party, offsite environments. As a result, decision-makers must ensure that both ecosystems function well with one another and do not replicate unnecessary resources to cause downtime and latency. A proper hybrid cloud strategy requires a balance of automation, best practices and integration. This means managing and simplifying resource usage, performance, scalability and other network management aspects through a single, consolidated platform. Maintaining end-to-end manageability will be critical in the future as the virtualization market expands, drives creative evolution and introduces more sophisticated services and functions.


#4: Cloud Connectivity and the Ever-Changing Security Threats

Central to the success of the cloud is a comprehensive security framework. Many already consider cloud data centers and related applications to be more secure than on-premises solutions that are used internally by service providers and enterprises. With the recent rollout of GDPR in Europe, data protection and privacy are not only significant concerns for cloud users, but also for government regulators that are responsible for ensuring all requirements are actually met. With complex threats coming from hackers who may use tools like ransomware, the risk of data theft, financial transaction interruptions or loss, and potential human errors in data management are top of mind for any corporate Chief Security Officer.

Today’s hyperscale cloud providers have spent significant time to improve the security and reliability of their cloud platforms, giving service providers and customers the peace of mind that critical applications will be monitored, abnormal behaviors will be identified and threats will be neutralized. Service providers must similarly shield all networked systems from vulnerability or risk serious degradation not just in performance, but in customer experience. Service providers have the complex and ongoing need to create the right balance of agile cloud infrastructure and related services and deliver on operational efficiency while maintaining a constant, secure environment. The end result should be the protection of infrastructure against the current, planned and, of course, unknown future threats, all without compromising on system performance.

Published in Technology & Solutions

PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, will collaborate with Orange to jointly land the high-speed 12,000km-long Pakistan & East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable in Marseille, France.

When complete in 2020., the high-speed PEACE cable system will offer the shortest routes from China to Europe and Africa, interconnecting three of the world’s most populous continents whilst at the same time dramatically reducing latency, delivering a superior connectivity experience which will be ideal for a vast array of commercial and consumer applications.

The backbone of the project will interconnect Pakistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya and France, providing critical interconnections to key Asian, European, and African economic corridors, with additional planned landing points and extensions.

Africa has the fastest-growing youth population in the world and is a market particularly ripe for investment because of the growing number of Internet users and increasing demand for connectivity to, and across, Africa.

Innovative new technologies are being deployed in the construction phase of the project which will enable bandwidth allocation to be modified during the lifetime of the cable. Once the cable is live, individual cable stakeholders will have the ability to architect and implement the network to their own specifications, without impacting others using the same cable system.

Marc Halbfinger, CEO, PCCW Global
Existing congested data routes between Europe and Asia will receive a significant boost when PEACE becomes active from Marseille. In addition, Africa is steadily increasing its demand for world-class connectivity services and PEACE will provide the backbone infrastructure that is critical for the continent’s continued dramatic growth.

Leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom has announced that it is investing 8 billion Egyptian Pounds ($400m US Dollars) in Egypt over the next three years. This is part of a major partnership with Telecom Egypt which includes network infrastructure and data centres.

Telecom Egypt will use the network to connect Egyptian businesses to the rest of Africa, whilst also partnering with Liquid Telecom to build data centres across Egypt. Following an initial investment of $50m in data centres and cloud services, Liquid Telecom plans to invest an additional $350m in broadband and financial inclusion initiatives, as well as high capacity data centres. 

Liquid Telecom’s expanding network is almost 70,000km in length and is linked to more than 600 towns and cities in 13 countries across Africa. 

This follows the signing of a landmark partnership agreement with Telecom Egypt to mark the completion of Liquid Telecom’s ‘Cape to Cairo’ network. This network represents the first direct land-based terrestrial fibre link from Cape Town to Cairo.

The $400 million investment will enable Liquid Telecom to significantly expand its position as a connectivity and cloud solutions provider in North Africa, serving businesses in the region with world-class network and data centre services. Through its data centre offering, Africa Data Centres (ADC), Liquid Telecom is facilitating the growth of Africa’s Cloud by providing a platform for cloud services to be delivered locally in many markets for the first time.

Strive Masiyiwa, Group Execuive Chairman, Liquid Telecom's Parent Company, Econet
We have already crossed Africa from East to West through Sudan and Chad. We are at the Nigerian border and we expect to reach Abuja by the end of January in time for the AU Summit. We want to reach Dakar before President El-Sisi finishes his term

On the occasion of the inauguration of TIM's 5G Innovation Hub in Rome, TIM and LG signed an important collaboration agreement focused on the development of the 5G.

The partnership aims to enhance the innovation capacity of the companies in order to anticipate the joint launch of 5G services and terminals in Italy.

TIM will support LG in the development of 5G solutions for the Italian market, providing the innovation hub partner ecosystem, the technological know-how with the best resources of its research centers and the availability of test environments for 5G.

On the occasion of the launch of the 5G, TIM and LG will carry out important joint co-marketing activities for the promotion of LG terminal. LG will support TIM by providing the technical support necessary for the development and testing of 5G solutions.

Mario di Mauro, TIM's Chief Strategy, Innovation & Customer Experience Officer
The agreement with LG confirms TIM's will to anticipate the availability of 5G terminals and services for the Italian market, with the aim of constantly offering to TIM customers the most advanced solutions that technology makes available, combining them with the best possible customer experience. 

David Draghi, Sales Director of Mobile Communication, LG Electronics Italia
The 5G is an innovative technology that represents an incredible opportunity for many sectors of industry, from automotive to robotics, health and wellbeing to transport and will provide a relevant push to the spread of the Internet of Things and the smart city. 

Published in Technology & Solutions

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