Category Archives: 5G

Smartphones help Huawei to 40% revenue growth over H1

Huawei MWC 2016

Huawei has released financials for the first half of 2016 demonstrating a 40% revenue boost to $37 billion, partly owing to a healthy performance in the consumer business unit.

Although operating margin for the period has declined from 18% to 12%, the company posted stronger revenue growth for the period, slightly offsetting the decline. During the first six months of 2015 revenues grew 30%.

“We achieved steady growth across all three of our business groups, thanks to a well-balanced global presence and an unwavering focus on our pipe strategy,” said Sabrina Meng, Huawei’s CFO. “We are confident that Huawei will maintain its current momentum, and round out the full year in a positive financial position backed by sound ongoing operations.”

The decrease in the operating margin reflects the progress of the larger smartphone industry, as well as the competition which is increasing worldwide. Huawei currently sits in third place in global market share of the smartphone market, though it has been investing heavily to penetrate western markets in recent months. Samsung and Apple are currently defending their position as the top two, though Huawei’s efforts to chance the mid-range market are seemingly paying off.

Set against a backdrop of declining smartphone shipments, Huawei has held onto its strong position in the Chinese market, increasing its shipments from 11.2 million to 16.6 million in Q1 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. The move increased its market share from 10.2% to 15.8% taking it to the top of the Chinese leader board, while Apple lost ground dropping from 12.3% to 11%.

While this may be seen as unsurprising in some quarters of the industry, success in the international markets is becoming more apparent. According to research from Gartner, sales of smartphones to end users totalled 349 million units in the first quarter of 2016, a 3.9 percent increase over the same period in 2015. Samsung accounted for roughly 23% of the market, whereas Apple was just under 15%. Huawei increased its share 5.4% to 8.3%, taking it to third in the global market share tables. The company is expected to continue to ramp up its R&D focus over foreseeable future.

Although the company did not detail the enterprise business units figures though that is likely to be outlined in the coming weeks. The enterprise business, which includes cloud computing, storage, and SDN products, Safe City and Electric Power IoT solutions, did announce healthy growth of 44% to $4.5 billion during its annual Global Analyst Summit in April.

In the carrier business, the role of 5G and IoT was reaffirmed, and the team will be focusing on four areas within the telco industry, business, operations, architecture, and networks. While the carrier business has been demonstrating strong growth throughout the world, it has struggled in the US after its technology was effectively banned over concerns it would be used by Chinese authorities to spy on the US. While Huawei has continually denied the allegations, it has struggled to rebound and reassert itself in the market.

Elsewhere in the industry, competitor Ericsson has been experiencing slightly different fortunes after CEO Hans Vestberg resigned following another difficult quarter for the company. Last week, the company reported an 11% annual decline in net sales with pressure continuing to build against Vestberg.

Ericsson claims a world first with transcontinental 5G trial

Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom have announced a partnership to deploy world’s first transcontinental 5G trial network, reports Telecoms.com.

The objective of the agreement will be to provide optimized end-user experiences by providing consistent quality of services and roaming experiences for advanced 5G use cases with enhanced global reach. Ericsson will act as the sole supplier to the project, which will include technologies such as NFV, software defined infrastructure, distributed cloud, and network slicing.

Last October, Ericsson and SK Telecom conducted a successful demonstration of network slicing technology, which featured the creation of virtual network slices optimized for services including super multi-view and augmented reality/virtual reality, Internet of Things offerings and enterprise solutions.

“5G is very different from its predecessors in that the system is built as a platform to provide tailored services optimized for individual customer’s needs, at a global scale,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO at SK Telecom. “Through this three-party collaboration, we will be able to better understand and build a 5G system that can provide consistent and enhanced user experience across the globe.”

Alongside the announcement, Ericsson and SK Telecom also successfully completed a demonstration of 5G software-defined telecommunications infrastructure, using the vendors Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000 solution. The pair claims this is a world-first and will enable dynamic composition of network components to meet scale requirements of 5G services.

Software-defined telecommunications infrastructure is one of the enablers of network slicing, which will allow operators to create individual virtualized environments which are optimized for specific users. The demonstration itself focused on two use cases; ultra-micro-network end-to-end (E2E) slicing for personalized services, and ultra-large-network E2E slicing for high-capacity processing.

“SDTI is an innovative technology that enhances network efficiency by flexibly constructing hardware components to satisfy the infrastructure performance requirements of diverse 5G services,” said Park Jin-hyo, Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom.

Finally, Ericsson has announced another partnership with Japanese telco KDDI with the ambition of delivering IoT on a global scale and providing enhanced connectivity services to KDDI customers.

The partnership will focus on Ericsson’s cloud-based IoT platform to deliver services such as IoT connectivity management, subscription management, network connectivity administration and flexible billing services. The pair claims the new proposition will enable KDDI’s customers to deploy, manage and scale IoT connected devices and applications globally.

IoT represents a significant opportunity for enterprise customers and operators alike, as it significantly increases the amount of data available and also access points to customers worldwide. Research firm Statista estimates the number of devices worldwide could exceed 50 billion, though the definition of what a connected device is or what an IoT connected device is varies.

“KDDI has for a long time been committed to building the communication environment to connect with world operators in order to support the global businesses of our customers,” said Keiichi Mori, GM of KDDI’s IoT Business Development Division. “We believe that by adopting DCP, we will be able to leverage Ericsson’s connection with world carriers and furthermore promote our unified service deployment globally to customers as they start worldwide IoT deployments.”

What does Clinton have in store for the tech industry?

Location United States. Red pin on the map.Hillary Clinton has recently released her campaign promises for the technology sector should she be elected as President Obama’s successor in November, reports Telecoms.com.

The technology agenda focused on a vast and varied number of issues within the technology industry, including the digital job-front, universal high-speed internet for the US, data transmission across jurisdictions, technological innovation and the adoption of technology in government. Although the statement does indicate a strong stance on moving technology to the top of the political agenda, there does seem to be an element of ‘buzzword chasing’ to gain support of the country’s tech giant.

“Today’s dynamic and competitive global economy demands an ambitious national commitment to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” the statement read. “America led the world in the internet revolution, and, today, technology and the internet are transforming nearly every sector of our economy—from manufacturing and transportation, to energy and healthcare.”

But what did we learn about America’s technology future?

Focus on 5G and new technologies

One of the more prominent buzzwords through the beginning of 2016 has been 5G as it is seemingly the turn-to phrase for the majority of new product launches and marketing campaigns. The Clinton has aligned themselves with the buzz in committing to deploying 5G networks (no timeframe), as well as opening up opportunities for a variety of next gen technologies.

“Widely deployed 5G networks, and new unlicensed and shared spectrum technologies, are essential platforms that will support the Internet of Things, smart factories, driverless cars, and much more—developments with enormous potential to create jobs and improve people’s lives,” the statement said.

The deployment of 5G has been split into two separate areas. Firstly, the use of the spectrum will be reviewed with the intention of identifying underutilized bands, including those reserved for the government, and reallocating to improve the speed of deployment. Secondly, government research grants will be awarded to various vendors to advance wireless and data technologies which are directed towards social priorities including healthcare, the environment, public safety and social welfare.

A recent report highlighted from Ovum highlighted the US is on the right track for the deployment of 5G, as the team believe it will be one of the leading countries for the technology. Ovum analysts predict there will be at least 24 million 5G subscribers by the end of 2021, of which 40% will be located in North America.

Europe US court of justiceData Transmission between US and EU

From a data transmission perspective, the Clinton team are seemingly taking offence to the European Court of Justice’s decision to strike down Safe Harbour, and the varied reception for the EU-US Privacy Shield. It would appear the Clinton team is under the assumption the deal between the EU and US was struck down for economic reasons, as opposed to data protection.

“The power of the internet is in part its global nature. Yet increasing numbers of countries have closed off their digital borders or are insisting on “data localization” to attempt to maintain control or unfairly advantage their own companies,” the statement said. “When Hillary was Secretary of State, the United States led the world in safeguarding the free flow of information including through the adoption by the OECD countries of the first Internet Policymaking Principles.

“Hillary supports efforts such as the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield to find alignment in national data privacy laws and protect data movement across borders. And she will promote the free flow of information in international fora.”

While it is could be considered encouraging that the mission of the Clinton team is to open up the channels between the two regions again, it does seem to have missed the point of why the agreement was shot down in the first place. The statement seemingly implies EU countries refused the agreement on the ground of promoting the interests of EU countries in the EU, as opposed to privacy concerns and the US attitude to government agencies access to personal information.

Safe Harbour, the initial transatlantic agreement, was shot down last October, though its proposed successor has come under similar criticism. Only last month, the European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, outlined concerns on whether the proposed agreement will provide adequate protection against indiscriminate surveillance as well as obligations on oversight, transparency, redress and data protection rights.

“I appreciate the efforts made to develop a solution to replace Safe Harbour but the Privacy Shield as it stands is not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny before the Court,” said Buttarelli. “Significant improvements are needed should the European Commission wish to adopt an adequacy decision, to respect the essence of key data protection principles with particular regard to necessity, proportionality and redress mechanisms. Moreover, it’s time to develop a longer term solution in the transatlantic dialogue.”

The Clinton team can continue to discuss changes to the transatlantic data transmission policy should they choose, however it is highly unlikely any positive moves are to be made until it gets to grips with the basic concerns of EU policy makers.

Navigating big dataAccess to Government data

Currently there are certain offices and data sets which are accessible to the general public, though this is an area which will be expanded under a Clinton regime. The concept is a sound one; giving entrepreneurs and businesses access to the data could provide insight to how money could be saved, used more efficiently or even new technologies implemented to improve the effectiveness of the government, though there could be a downside.

“The Obama Administration broke new ground in making open and machine-readable the default for new government information, launching Data.gov and charging each agency with maintaining data as a valuable asset,” the statement said. “Hillary will continue and accelerate the Administration’s open data initiatives, including in areas such as health care, education, and criminal justice.”

The downside has the potential to ruin any politician. The program is opening the door for criticism from all sides, and will offer ammunition to any opposition.

Connecting American Citizens

One of the most focused points of the document was around the country’s commitment to ensuring each household and business has the opportunity to be connected to high-speed broadband. While this could be considered an effective sound-bite for the party, it is not a new idea by any means. A recent report highlighted there is currently a surprising number of Americans who do not currently have access to broadband. Although it may be expected those in the rural communities would struggle at times, the report indicated 27% and 25% of New York and Los Angeles respectively would be classed in the “Urban Broadband Unconnected” category, which could be considered more unusual.

Connect America Fund, Rural Utilities Service Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program are all well-established operations (Rural Utilities Service Program has been around since 1935) which had been drums for previous presidents to bang also. Clinton has said very little new here or has made little commitment to the initiatives.

The team have however committed to a $25 billion Infrastructure Bank which will enable local authorities to apply for grants to make improvements. This is a new concept which Clinton plans to introduce though the details on how it will be funded, what the criteria for application will be or whether there are any stipulations on which vendors the money can be spend with, are not detailed.

5G will be commercially ready by 2021 – Ovum

Tablet PC with 5GAnalyst firm Ovum has released its inaugural 5G Subscription Forecasts this week which estimates there will be 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2021, reports Telecoms.com.

The team at Ovum believe 5G commercial services will be a normalized aspect of the telco landscape by 2020, though this will be dominated by those in North America and Asia, who will account for as much as 80% of global 5G subscriptions by 2021. Europe would only take 10% of the pie, with the Middle-East and Africa splitting the remaining 10%.

While 5G could be considered as an advertising buzzword within the telco industry on the whole, the need for speed has been driven primarily by the advancements in user device capabilities. Claims to be the first vendor to have achieved the 5G status are not uncommon, though Nokia was the latest to make such a statement, in claiming its 5G network stack, which combines radio access technology with a cloud-based packet core, running on top of an AirFrame data centre platform, is the foundation of a commercial 5G architecture. This in itself is a bold claim as 5G standards are yet to be fully ratified.

“The main use case for 5G through 2021will be enhanced mobile broadband services, although fixed broadband services will also be supported, especially in the US,” said Mike Roberts, Ovum Practice Leader for carrier strategy and technology. “Over time 5G will support a host of use cases including Internet of Things and mission-critical communications, but Ovum does not believe those use cases will be supported by standardized 5G services through 2021.”

While announcements claiming organizations are 5G ready, a number of these have been excluded from the research. Numerous operators have claimed they will be launching 5G prior to the 2020 date stated in the research though these are services which will generally be deployed on networks and devices which don’t complying with 5G standards. These examples are seemingly nothing more than advertising ploys playing on the excitement of 5G. Ovum defines a 5G subscription as an active connection to a 5G network via a 5G device. 5G is further defined as a system based on and complying with 3GPP 5G standards.

In the UK, Ofcom has stated 5G services could be commercially available by 2020, though this claim has not been backed up by the team at Ovum. While it has not directly commented on the state of play in the UK, Ovum believe the majority of subscribers will be located in the US, Japan, China, and South Korea, countries where the operators have set more aggressive deadlines for the introduction of 5G services.

One area which has not been cleared up is the future spectrum requirements of 5G. Use cases for the high speed networks have already been outlined, including varied cases such as scientific research to financial trading and weather monitoring, though how the supply of spectrum will be split for immediate and future needs is still unknown.

“5G must deliver a further step change in the capacity of wireless networks, over and above that currently being delivered by 4G,” Steve Unger, Group Director at Ofcom on the website. “No network has infinite capacity, but we need to move closer to the ideal of there always being sufficient capacity to meet consumers’ needs”

Intel announces new infrastructure to support 5G cloud development

Tablet PC with 5GIntel has announced new infrastructure products for the cloud-based 5G networks that it claims will run tomorrow’s telecoms and data centre services.

The 5G cloud will be built on its new offerings in the Xeon Processor D-1500 product family, according to Intel, which says processors are the key to extending intelligence from the network core to the edge. By doing so, the new 5G cloud will perform better and interactions will be subject to less delay and lower levels of latency.

Nine new processors will pave the way for the migration of intelligence from the core to the edge of the network of the future. In order to be stationed at the edge of the network, the new processors must characteristically be high performers but low users of power and with twice the maximum memory of previous generations in an integrated System-on-a-Chip, says Intel. This means they can

network, store cloud and enterprise data and run IoT applications in dense, rugged environments. Intel said 50 networking, cloud storage, enterprise storage and IoT systems that use the new additions to the Intel Xeon Processor D-1500 product family are in development.

Among the new inventions are a new Ethernet Multi-host Controller FM10000 range for use in high performance comms network applications and dense server platforms. It has up to 200Gbps of high-bandwidth multi-host connectivity and multiple 100GbE ports for packet processing and the mass movement of data traffic. The new Intel Ethernet Controller X550 family, on the other hand, is a cheap, low power, 10 Gigabit Ethernet connector for data centre servers and network appliances.

Meanwhile, Intel said it is actively driving a networking ecosystem and has grown the Intel Network Builders program to more than 180 companies. Red Hat has become the first ISV to actively contribute to all key focus areas of the Intel Network Builders Fast Track.

“Networks are facing extraordinary demands as more devices become connected and new digital services are offered,” said Sandra Rivera, Intel Data Center Group VP. “Building cloud ready networks calls for more intelligence.”

NEC and partners in Europe to develop converged cloud-based 5G network

5G - 1A new consortium of technology vendors and academics is collaborating on a project to build future 5G mobile networks on superfluid (AKA cloud) principles.

The Superfluidity Project is part of the European H2020 5G Public-Private Partnership (5G PPP) initiative. The stated aim of the project is to define and develop a converged, cloud-based 5G virtual network and service platform. According to a statement, the network will be distributed over the mobile edge and core of 5G networks extending up to data centres.

The collaborators in the project include a number of top IT brands, including NEC, Citrix, Intel, OnApp and Red Hat. Telecoms equipment maker Alcatel Lucent is to act as a technical coordinator. Among the telcos taking part in the project are British Telecom, PT Inovação e Sistemas and Telefónica. A number of research and academic bodies across Europe are also joining the consortium, including CNIT (which will be project coordinator), the University of Ben Gurion, the University of Liège, the University of Technology in Dresden and the University Politehnica of Bucharest.

There will also be input from a trio of small and medium sized enterprises. EBlink, Telcaria Ideas and Unified Streaming will all help shape the development of the superfluid 5G network of the future.

The goal is to create a superfluid set of properties for the network, which would have location, time, scale and hardware independence. These properties would be exemplified through unlimited growth potential, instant service migration and complete transparency of services.

The work, which will have a planned 30 month project lifecycle, began on the 1st of July 2015.

If successful the Superfluidity project will tackle crucial shortcomings in today’s networks and improve on the long and wasteful provisioning processes that are employed today to meet demand for mobile operator networks, according to a statement from NEC.

Orange creates NFV, cloud testing lab for 5G advances

Orange and Inria are partnering on an NFV, cloud testing lab for 5G

Orange and Inria are partnering on an NFV, cloud testing lab for 5G

Orange has unveiled its new lab dedicated to network virtualization and cloud computing, called I/O Lab. It’s targeting an open and accessible environment for collaboration with the wider industry.

In a particularly buzzwordy announcement, the telco has claimed the new testing environment for NFV and cloud tech will enable advances in the development of 5G, IoT and Big Data; while also referencing “fog” computing – a form distributed cloud computing where near-user network edge devices are utilised for storage – and Mobile Edge Computing.

“The networks… will undergo a radical transformation in the next decade as a result of the progress of virtualization techniques,” Orange said in a statement. “General purpose servers will be able to use software to incorporate more and more network functions, all while meeting the networks’ growing needs for capacity and reliability. At the same time, cloud computing techniques will contribute to the development of flexible storage and processing capacities in data centres and even within networks and their peripheries, including connected devices and objects.” This trend could be strengthened by the increased momentum of the Internet of Things and Big Data processing”

“The I/O Lab’s vision is to develop a coherent, flexible and reliable management structure for the networks of the future, seen as distributed communication, storage and processing infrastructures. This will be achieved by virtue of the dual distributed network and software culture of its partners and a large contribution of the worldwide Open Source communities.”

The lab has been developed in partnership with Inria, the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, and the two companies say the test-bed will be dedicated to contributing heavily to relevant Open Source communities.

Orange also claims the lab will promote and develop a broad scale network OS, called “Global OS”, which will be designed to support a variety of app development for the infrastructure, including security, performance, availability, cost and energy efficiency management. It has also targeted 2020 for tangible outputs from the lab in terms of network infrastructure ready for 5G-compatible deployment.