Openet announced the appointment of Jan Frykhammar, who has joined Openet’s Board of Directors.

Having spent almost three decades at Ericsson, Jan has held a number of positions during his tenure, including interim Group CEO, CFO, and most recently, special advisor to the board and CEO. Jan will work closely with Openet board members and management team to ensure that Openet’s commitment to industry change continues its momentum.

Jan has also served as a Board Member for the Swedish International Chamber of Commerce, as well as the confederation of Engineering Enterprises in Sweden. He currently serves on the boards of Telavox, Clavister and as advisor to Utimaco as well as Ratos. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Uppsala.

Niall Norton, CEO, Openet
We are delighted to be welcoming such an accomplished and well-respected telecoms leader onto the board of directors. Having been an invaluable member of the executive team at Ericsson, Jan has in-depth insight to the changes needed for vendors and operators alike during this period of industry transformation.

Jan Frykhammar, Board Member, Openet
Openet is making real strides in supporting Operators with a new fresh way of thinking around digital transformations, and I am privileged to join the company’s board of directors at such a critical point in its growth. 

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has brought to light for consumers exactly how much personal data Facebook and other companies may have. But we’ve heard little about and from the wireless carriers. Where are T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon/Oath, Sprint, and others (who have their own troves of data) in this conversation, some might ask? I’ll tell you where. They’re in the catbird seat.

The Fair Value Exchange

It all starts with fair value exchange. Advertising, as we know it, is the price consumers pay for “free” content. People will put up with full-page takeovers and autoplay video ads in return for the articles, videos, and audio content they love. Over the years, however, we’ve weighted the scales a bit: we’ve begun collecting data from consumers in exchange for more targeted advertising. As an industry, we believed that this was acceptable because in exchange users were receiving more “personalized” ads, “better” messages, and offers targeted to their “interests.” But, did we ever ask them if pushing this envelope was preferable?

Massive players like Google and Facebook have been harvesting this user data for eons. Before consumers knew how much information these monoliths actually had, they were happily tolerating ads in exchange for services they found valuable and fun. Now that consumers are beginning to understand the extent of the data that’s been collected on them, they’re starting to push back – hence the #deleteFacebook movement.

It’s becoming clear that what we in the advertising industry thought was a fair value exchange may not have been fair at all in consumers’ eyes.

Carriers: Similar, But Uniquely Empowered

Mobile carriers like AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon also have data troves that may even rival those of Google and Facebook. With years of subscriber information, including mobile web browsing history, call history, and more, carriers know a lot about their subscribers. They too have had a few data hiccups (for example, selling user data or trying to sell user data), but they also have a unique opportunity in this space.

Mobile carriers are one of only three stakeholders that participate in the evolution of our smartphone devices. They, along with OEMs and O/S developers, can help shape a smarter, more user-focused smartphone. As the prime distributors of devices, they can dictate software and services that are added to the devices they sell. Of these three stakeholders, however, carriers are the ones with a relationship with the subscriber, and as such, they’re the ones with the keys to the data. By respecting their role in keeping that data sacred, and respecting the user by improving their experience, carriers are uniquely empowered with the opportunity to create a new fair value exchange. 

The Opportunity: A New Look at Fair Value Exchange

Rather than the weak “your data for better targeted ads” proposition, a more consumer-appealing proposition would be “your data for a better overall mobile experience.”  With access to user location data, sites users have visited, and mobile apps they’ve used, the smartphone could become much more useful and enjoyable. In receiving permission to access that data, carriers could deliver a frictionless content experience, serving up useful or entertaining content in the moments – and in the formats – subscribers need and want it most. Carriers could use their data privileges to create premium services.

Mobile carriers could raise the bar by not only actually asking for users’ permission, but by also letting users know their quid pro quo is much better. Requesting use of personal data in exchange for better advertising is a terrible proposition. But for a “smarter” smartphone?  Well, as my father was fond of saying, “That’s a mule of a different color.”

Consumers already use their phones for almost everything – it’s become a GPS device, a camera, an alarm clock, a wallet, and a cohort to most forms of entertainment. Phones go to the supermarket, restaurants, concerts, and into living rooms and bedrooms. With access to relevant data, it can be a useful tool in all of these scenarios and environments – even more useful than it is perceived to be today. By serving up weather and news headlines right after the morning alarm goes off or surfacing coupons and offers while a shopper is in the corresponding supermarket aisle, the phone becomes an even more valuable device. Even recognizing that a consumer is waiting for a train and serving up “snackable” content in that moment could be a greatly appreciated service.

This is your moment, carriers. Be the heroes. Build an even stronger relationship with your subscribers by asking permission to use their data to make their smartphones smarter, more useful, and more entertaining than ever.

Published in Expert Opinion

Singtel has demonstrated its cross-border mobile payments service initiative to connect mobile wallets across borders to Asean leaders ahead of the first-phase commercial launch between Singtel and regional associate AIS in Thailand in mid-2018.

The 10 ASEAN heads of state had a chance to experience how this payment service would work.

In a first for the region, the Singtel Group recently announced it would connect different telco wallets across markets to offer seamless cross-border payments at physical merchants. This will empower the Group's more than 600 million mobile customers to securely and conveniently pay with their mobile wallets when they travel in Asia Pacific, helping small merchants expand their reach to millions more in the process.

The Group plans to progressively expand this service to other regional associates including Airtel in India, Globe in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia, and wholly-owned subsidiary Optus in Australia, working within the regulatory frameworks of the respective countries.

Other mobile payment apps and Singtel’s Bridge Alliance partners can potentially plug into the platform and gain ready access to the Group’s merchant and customer bases throughout the region.

Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel International Group
With the fragmented payments scene in Asia today, interoperability has never been more crucial. We are pleased to support ASEAN’s vision of a more connected community and a single digital market with our cross-border interoperable mobile payment initiative. 

Telenor has recently launched what it says as Myanmar’s first mobile application which empowers its customers to create their own packages in order to meet their preferences.

The new Telenor FlexiPlan enables Telenor prepaid users to create their own bundle according to their preferences on the use of voice, SMS and data and the span of their validity. 

The app, at the same time, can benefit customers with up-to 80 percent discount compared to the normal pay-go rates and a new feature of giving data package gifts to fellow users, said Telenor.

The first of its kind in Myanmar, Telenor FlexiPlan application is now available on Google Play Store, App Store and web-link and no data charge for using the App while making customised packages and downloading.  The package purchased on the App is not auto-renewal and the purchased SMS validity can only be used for Telenor to Telenor numbers.

Joslin Myrthong, CMO, Telenor Myanmar
Ahead of the joyous Thingyan Festival, we are very keen to make sure our customers enjoy their experience with Telenor efficiently and wholeheartedly. As we have a wide range of different customers with different demands, this new mobile application, Telenor FlexiPlan, is introduced for the first time in Myanmar as an attempt to bring the aspiration and empower our customers to make the most of their time with Telenor.

Huawei recently launched the One UL2100 solution to help operators deploy uplink UMTS spectrum in the 2,100 MHz band for 4G and 5G services.

The solution features a series of innovative technologies such as software-defined antenna (SDA), UL Spectrum Sharing, and UL Zero Buffer Zone.

The solution aims to assist with operator's evolution to 4.5G and 5G, unlock the full potential of 2100 MHz spectrum resources and site assets, and maximize return on investment (ROI) for customers.

The 2100 MHz frequency band is widely adopted by operators for mainly deploying UMTS networks across the world, said Huawei. The number of 2100 MHz sites outside of China is higher than that of all other bands. Currently, 70% of operators enjoy over 15 MHz bandwidth on the 2100 MHz band.

However, UMTS users are continuously migrating to LTE with the development of 4G, resulting in lower UMTS network loads. A growing number of operators are seizing this opportunity to implement refarming of the 2100 MHz band for LTE.

UL Co-platform Evolution: Multiplying Site Capacity

How to ensure a smooth experience for both UMTS and LTE users during refarming is a real concern among many operators. SDAs support UMTS multi-sector and LTE 4T4R converged evolution. This approach offers high LTE user experience, while UMTS capacity increasing. UL 4T6S features six-sector 4T4R to boost LTE capacity, fulfilling the LTE capacity requirements for the next three to five years. Meanwhile, the UMTS capacity will jump higher. Dual-band 4T4R radio frequency (RF) modules allow for co-deployment of 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz. This not only provides an optimal LTE experience, but also supports 5G-oriented evolution, and reduces TCO by over 40%.

UL Spectrum Sharing: Boosting Spectral Efficiency

The traditional 5 MHz-based UL refarming approach struggles to suit the current needs of both user and service development. Huawei UL Spectrum Sharing solution features innovative interference reduction technologies to allow UMTS and LTE spectrum to overlap. This approach enables demand-based spectrum scheduling and refarming, boosting LTE capacity by more than 15%.

Zero Buffer Zone: Improving Delivery Efficiency

Buffer zones have to be configured in the traditional UL refarming approach to prevent co-channel interference between UMTS and LTE. The refarmed spectrum within the buffer zone cannot be used, resulting in the waste of spectrum resources. Huawei UL Zero Buffer Zone solution boasts intelligent scheduling to eliminate co-channel interference between two RATs, simplifying the deployment process and improving delivery efficiency.

Yu Xiao, President of Huawei UMTS Network Product Line
Huawei has been devoted to innovating UL refarming solutions to address operators' needs in terms of network and service development. The newly released solution is set to bring renewed vitality to the 2100 MHz spectrum. One UL2100 is an ideal candidate for evolving towards 4.5G as it ensures high capacity and experience for both 3G and 4.5G. 

Published in Technology & Solutions

Keysight Technologies announced its continuing collaboration with China Mobile Communications Corporation(CMCC) to develop 5G technologies that enable the world's largest mobile operator to perform 5G Radio Frequency (RF) modelling and simulation.

Keysight said its SystemVue solution which is part of its 5G NR software solutions, enables the mobile operator to create realistic modelling and simulation of 5G RF systems to determine relevant performance metrics to apply to its network. 

CMCC uses SystemVue to build end-to-end system level simulation that involve 5G Baseband, RF, Antenna, as well as Wireless Channel modeling. These simulations have helped CMCC achieve desired results in standardization contributions, 5G specification, and application development, said Keysight Technologies.   

SystemVue offers engineers the blocks necessary to build and optimize a signal source, baseband transceiver, RF transceiver, phased array antenna, and perform signal analysis, thereby accelerating development within a single software platform.

Last year, the two companies worked together to accelerate the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the country.

Tom Lillig, VP and GM, Keysight Design Engineering Group
Keysight's tools are enabling the entire industry to push the limits on the performance of communication components and systems. Our collaboration with China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) on 5G is a great example of how we're working together to develop and promote the 3GPP standard.

Published in Technology & Solutions

CK Hutchison Group and Etisalat Group have entered into an agreement to merge their mobile operations in Sri Lanka, operating under Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Hutch Lanka) and Etisalat Lanka (ESL) respectively.

The companies said that the combined business should be better positioned to serve their Sri Lankan customers. This transaction is part of the stated strategy of portfolio optimization of the Etisalat Group.

Upon completion of the transaction, CKHH Group will have the majority and controlling stake in the combined entity. The completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions precedent, which include, among others, securing the necessary competition and regulatory approvals in Sri Lanka.

The takeover would see the market reduced to four from five mobile operators now which includes Dialog, Mobitel and Airtel.

Published in Technology & Solutions

T-Mobile and Sprint announced plans to merge on Sunday in a $26 billion deal. 

The new combined company which would retain the T-Mobile name will be led by John Legere as the CEO and Mike Sievert as President and COO.

Tim Höttges, current T-Mobile US Chairman of the Board, will serve as Chairman of the Board for the new company. Masayoshi Son, current SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO, and Marcelo Claure, current Chief Executive Officer of Sprint, will serve on the board of the new company.

Deutsche Telekom will hold 42% of the equity in the new company, with Softbank owning 27% and the remaining 31% to be held by public investors, according to Bloomberg.

The New T-Mobile will have the network capacity to rapidly create a nationwide 5G network with the breadth and depth needed to enable U.S. firms and entrepreneurs to continue to lead the world in the coming 5G era, as U.S. companies did in 4G, said the companies in a statement.

The combined company will have lower costs, greater economies of scale, and the resources to provide U.S. consumers and businesses with lower prices, better quality, unmatched value, and greater competition. 

The combined company plans to invest $40 billion over the next three years, largely to support the rollout of its 5G network. 

John Legere, CEO, T-Mobile
This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own.

Marcelo Claure, CEO, Sprint
We intend to bring this same competitive disruption as we look to build the world’s best 5G network that will make the U.S. a hotbed for innovation and will redefine the way consumers live and work across the U.S., including in rural America. 

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