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Swisscom is exercising its right to purchase the 31% holding in Swisscom Directories (localsearch) that is currently held by Tamedia in a move that will make Swisscom the company's sole shareholder for CHF 220 million.

In 2015, search.ch was merged with localsearch, in which Tamedia holds a 31% interest and Swisscom a 69% interest. As part of the merger, Swisscom granted Tamedia a put option and Tamedia granted Swisscom a call option for Tamedia’s holding in localsearch. These options have been exercisable since mid-2018. Swisscom is now exercising its right to purchase Tamedia’s 31% holding, which will make Swisscom the sole shareholder of localsearch.

Based in Zurich, the leading marketing and advertising partner for Swiss SMEs has more than 800 employees and operates Switzerland's biggest directory platforms, local.ch and search.ch. Offering professional website creation, online advertising and campaigns, online booking systems, customer management systems and an extensive web presence on all major Swiss platforms, localsearch helps Swiss companies to acquire new customers and achieve success in the digital world.

The transaction is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2019. 

Nokia and Ooredoo have set up the first 5G-ready Technology Center in Myanmar.

The Nokia Technology Center is the result of a successful collaboration with Yangon Technological University (YTU) that will be utilized by the students of Myanmar’s first diploma program in telecommunications. The curriculum, steered by the University of Oulu in Finland, will benefit tremendously from the new Nokia Technology Center, which is equipped with end-to-end radio, anyhaul transport and a core network solution that supports the latest 5G technology in addition to 4G/3G/2G .

Designed for post graduates, the new diploma program launched earlier this year in March by the two universities required a robust lab to enhance its curriculum and enable students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a testbed environment. The syllabus was developed based on Nokia’s technology and, in a welcome move, Nokia and Ooredoo decided to join forces to create the Nokia Technology Center as a key enabler for the program. The Nokia Technology Center is fitted with state-of-the art equipment including Nokia’s multiradio AirScale – which supports 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G – and anyhaul transport, including IP and Microwave equipment, cloud-native core network and the associated power, materials and infrastructure.

In addition, Nokia and Ooredoo will be providing an intensive internship program for students to work as technology developers and service providers, enabling them with a 360-degree exposure to the industry.

Danabalan Amirthalingam, Head of Nokia Myanmar
At Nokia we are obsessed with value creation and talent development, which happen to be the key pillars of this program. YTU and Oulu University’s diploma program is a great initiative for the youth of Myanmar. The Nokia Technology Center will serve as a catalyst to provide students with the latest and most advanced 5G technology, featuring innovations from Bell Labs. 

Published in Technology & Solutions

Enxoo, a leading OSS/BSS vendor announced that its business and operational processes’ automation system for NEXERA has gone live at the beginning of September.

NEXERA, the recently established wholesale access fiber network operator, is currently running construction works in thirteen areas of central and north-eastern Poland within the Operational Program Digital Poland framework.

NEXERA implemented Enxoo for Communications BSS and integrated it with implemented at the same time CROSS Network Intelligence – an OSS network management system. The solution dedicated to wholesale operators has been fully customized to meet customer’s needs. New functionalities, developed especially for NEXERA such as order management, billing and invoicing, had been added, says Enxoo.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Flash Networks announced the availability of xtraAware, designed to provide a real time assessment of network, subscribers, devices and applications performance to enable operators to proactively solve network and application issues that might lead to a degradation in network performance and customer churn. 

xtraAware’s more accurate assessment of the user experience can also prevent revenue loss due to interrupted sessions such as dropped video for prepaid subscribers, claims the Company.

Flash Networks’ XtraAware provides an extra layer of awareness so that those applications critical to subscribers like video viewing, and page loading for e-commerce sites during busy holiday seasons will receive the bandwidth they need to provide an acceptable level of performance from an end user perspective. XtraAware utilizes machine learning algorithms to identify traffic for applications including popular ones such as You Tube,  Facebook and Instagram even when this traffic is encrypted, and then alerts operators when a high ratio of pages take too long to load or video viewing is unstable so network resources can be reassigned.

Measuring network performance based on location and application enables networks to prioritize their network expansion with a higher level of accuracy to ensure a truly positive customer experience when subscribers browse the web and use popular applications. 

xtraAware pinpoints specific locations where service degradation occur for specific user segments and times of day by baselining the user experience and then utilizing machine learning algorithms to identify performance anomalies.   Traditionally, operators have relied on legacy equipment such as probes and DPI appliances, however they are limited in their ability to process encrypted traffic. In addition to behavioral analysis xtraAware utilizes a clientless technology that receives all types of data directly from the browser to better replicate the customer experience for a more accurate reading. xtraAware provides a full scorecard by monitoring several key attributes that influence subscriber satisfaction including page load start time, page load time, video start time, resolution, and stream stability.

xtraAware is available as part of Flash Networks vHarmony 8.0 which improves the quality of the user experience and increases RAN spectral efficiency by accelerating traffic across LTE networks while reducing video traffic overload. vHarmony provides multi-dimensional network optimization that creates measurable value from radio spectral efficiency from the mobile core, enabling operators to optimize, monetize and secure mobile networks from end-to-end.

Ofer Gottfried, CEO, Flash Networks
With the advent of the Internet of Things, and the increase in the volume and weight of video traffic, operators need to use sophisticated technology to monitor and then optimize networks to provide a superior user quality of experience. With two successful trials, our customers are already gleaming important insights to proactively ensure customer satisfaction and utilize their resources in the most efficient way possible for superior network performance.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Mobile architectures are poised to go through radical changes from 5G radio, which ranges from sub-1 GHz to millimeter wave bands, to web-enabled, real-time network slicing. Operators are finding new approaches for expanding use cases which have very specialized service requirements. While many of these will be fully realized later in the future, we will see significant efforts in 2019 to increase network and back-office flexibility and functionality to reduce cost, increase efficiencies, and prepare for new use cases and network functions. Thinking back to the earlier Mobile Technology evolution, the move from first generation analog to second gen digital networks was a significant change leading to improved performance capabilities. The disruptive change was realized when operators embraced 3G technologies as the proliferation of data-enabled smartphones became ubiquitous, moving the internet into our hands. The move from 3G to 4G/LTE has led to greater bandwidth and improved service quality, which has been more incremental than disruptive. What we have seen today is nowhere near the sea change coming with “5G” use cases. I use 5G in quotes because it is the use cases which will emerge from new network capabilities rather than yet another new radio standard. 5G use cases will replay on numerous radio spectrum, both licensed and unlicensed. As preparation for major changes in use cases begin, below are three trends I predict we will see Mobile operators embrace this year.

#1: DEEP INTEGRATION OF LICENSED AND UNLICENSED NETWORKS

For many years Mobile operators have benefited from subscribers “offloading” their own data in the office and at home on private Wi-Fi networks. This data is backhauled over the existing broadband connection, reducing the overall CapEx needed to support all of the subscribers’ data services. Once operators embraced the obvious benefits of unlicensed networks, they switched their focus to improving the two biggest gaps in Wi-Fi networks: (1) user experience, and (2) security. Solving these using technologies such as Hotspot 2.0 or Passpoint, has led operators to see how much deeper they can integrate unlicensed networks now that many of the on-boarding and security issues have been solved. As Mobile operators now look to radically change their technical and commercial structures to support innovative use cases, think AI and machine learning (ML) driven automation, they realize they must leverage any and all available network capacity. Being able to apply real-time policy, billing and Quality of Experience (QoE) on both licensed and unlicensed networks requires deep interworking and integration of network cores, BSS/OSS systems, policy and charging systems. This integration work is accelerated through network function virtualization (NFV) but requires a flexible interface-laden interworking fabric to realistically get to market quickly. Treating unlicensed networks the same as licensed will require new capabilities for many operators such as running their unlicensed data services through the same IPX used for LTE data services. Operators will be expanding their internal network and OSS/BSS systems and processes to fully and better incorporate unlicensed networks in 2019.

David Reeder,
VP of Global Sales
& Business
Development,
Accuris Networks

#2: MARRIAGE OF CARRIER AND ENTERPRISE NETWORKS

AI and ML applications including automation, customer support, operational support and analytics rely on local and global networks. Cloud-enabled solutions leveraging enterprise networks alone create unnatural limitations to many use cases which extend beyond a single location. Device/container tracking, connected cars, autonomous vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, and numerous smart city applications all require the ability to leverage both enterprise and carrier networks. Tracking high-value items from the manufacturing floor, to shipping container, to delivery vehicle, to building, and even to the specific shelf in a specific office on a specific floor is becoming a very common in-demand use case. There is no single network that can economically serve all these coverage scenarios. Leveraging multiple network types will be the only efficient way for full realization of these use cases. Mobile operators are embracing this concept and partnering with Enterprise and venue owners directly to enable the technical and economic efficiencies brought upon by devices being managed in multiple networks. Security and service exposure are key aspects of this “marriage” which will be a key focus this year.

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#3: WEB ENABLEMENT

2019 is too early to expect full network slicing functionality and availability. That said, operators will be moving very fast this year to stage their business and technical architectures to allow for full, end-to-end web enablement. Operators who rapidly embrace the concept of an Enterprise’s ability to create on-demand network parameters for specific use cases will find themselves best positioned to capture greater Enterprise market share in the new 5G economy. The upcoming 5G networks will be truly capable of “mashing” with other cloud-deployed Web services such as ERP, web monetization, etc. Preparing for 5G has required carriers and operators to review and change their systems from legacy, closed interfaces to web-enabled APIs, cloud-based functions and NFV architectures. This is no easy task as many legacy systems are deeply entrenched in back office systems and methodologies and require adept changes of products, sales processes, operational support systems and provisioning.

The new economy of adaptable service enablement has arrived. Operators who embrace this reality and spend their time and energy this year preparing will benefit the most. Preparing for the deployment of 5G networks through deep integration of licensed and unlicensed networks, embracing the partnership of enterprise and carrier networks as well as rapidly changing to end-to-end web enablement capabilities are on the most innovative carriers “must do” list for 2019.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Singapore's M1 and Nokia announced that they have completed the Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) small cells trial and achieved close to 1Gbps network download speed.

During the trial, Nokia’s advanced LAA Air Scale small cell, which aggregates up to four carriers and combines up to four multiple transmission paths, achieved a download peak speed close to 1Gbps.  Leveraging on the advanced interworking capabilities of LAA and precise planning and design carried out by M1’s engineers and Nokia’s service experts, the solution provides 4.5G technology in the unlicensed 5GHz spectrum band, which complements well with M1’s existing licensed band and is able to co-exist with WiFi networks using the same 5GHz spectrum.

M1’s Heterogeneous Network (HetNet), the largest in Singapore with more than 500 integrated small cells and WiFi access points deployed at traffic hotspots throughout Singapore including MRT/ LRT stations, bus interchanges, major commercials buildings and malls and other popular outdoor areas, will also be enhanced with Nokia’s LAA capabilities.

With the advanced LAA solution, M1 is able to improve data bandwidth at high-traffic hotspots, minimise network congestion and continue to deliver high data speed to M1 customers at crowded places. The deployment will also enrich customers’ experience by ensuring a seamless coverage and uninterrupted mobile service across M1’s cellular and WiFi network.

Denis Seek, CTO, M1
Through this latest trial with our long-term technology partner Nokia, we reiterate our commitment in applying latest technologies to provide our customers with the best possible cellular and WiFi experience on the move.

Mark Atkinson, Head of Small Cells, Nokia
With this live network trial, Nokia has proven once again that our technology is helping M1 build the networks of the future, transforming and enriching the overall end-user experience.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Telia Carrier announced that it has further expanded access to its Global IP Backbone with an additional PoP (Point-of-Presence) in Zurich, Switzerland.

This brings the number of PoPs available in Switzerland to three, in direct response to increased demand for access to Telia Carrier’s new high capacity fibre route stretching from Zurich to Frankfurt via Basel.

The colozüri.ch data center is the most energy-efficient carrier neutral facility in Zurich and is designed in accordance with Tier IV data centre principles, claims Telia Carrier. The new PoP gives colozüri.ch customers direct access to the Telia Global IP backbone and full suite of IP services, including Cloud Connect which secures a direct on-ramp to the leading global cloud service providers.

The combination of numerous regional PoPs and efficient routing supports a huge increase in regional traffic, as enterprises and consumers demand access to high quality Internet services, such as OTT (Over-The-Top) content, cloud connectivity, web-hosting and more. Customers in industries as diverse as financial services, healthcare and media are making extensive use of IP technology, often needing to reach end users, services and resources on the other side of the globe with low latency, high speed and consistent reliability.

Reto Burkhaler, colozuri.ch
Having direct access to the Telia Global IP backbone, means that regardless of the demands of their industry, they can be sure of giving their customers and business partners the best possible experience, against a backdrop of constantly escalating IP traffic volumes.

Christoph Lannert, Regional Sales Director, Telia Carrier
The demand for IP services throughout Europe is growing at an incredible rate. We are continually expanding our network to ensure we have the capacity and reach to meet customer demand for traffic intensive workflows, from cloud computing to media streaming. 

Published in Technology & Solutions

The Industrial Internet Consortium(IIC) and the OpenFog Consortium (OpenFog) announced that they have agreed to merge as a single entity under the IIC umbrella.

The move will bring OpenFog members into the IIC organization at a time when their complementary areas of technology are emerging in the mainstream. The combined memberships will continue to drive the momentum of the Industrial Internet including the development and promotion of industry guidance and best practices for fog and edge computing.  The organizations expect the details to be finalized in early 2019.

The Industrial Internet Consortium is the world’s leading membership program transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things. The OpenFog Consortium was founded to advance fog computing and address bandwidth, latency and communications challenges associated with IoT, 5G and AI applications.

Christian Renaud, Research VP, IoT, 451 Research
This is great news for the industry. Both organizations have been advancing the IIoT, fog and edge computing, and their members represent the best and the brightest in their fields.  It makes sense to merge their expertise and work streams to continue providing the IIoT, fog and edge guidance that the industry needs.

Bill Hoffman, President IIC
The Industrial Internet Consortium, now incorporating OpenFog, will be the single largest organization focused on IIoT, AI, fog and edge computing in the world.  Between both of our organizations we have a remarkable global presence with members in more than 30 countries.

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