COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Ericsson provided the most level of detail yet on the steps it has taken, both internal and customer-facing, in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Advanced planning emerges as a key feature of Ericsson’s approach, helping drive a number of important steps that should serve as a template for managing future crises.

As it released its first earnings report since COVID-19 began its rapid global spread, Ericsson took the opportunity to outline the various steps it has taken, both internally and externally, to plan for the known impacts and to predict the unknown effects. The actions taken by the company, which was one of the earliest to make the difficult decision to withdraw from this year’s MWC event in Barcelona, should serve as a case study for ‘how to get it right’ in the case of a crisis. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management”

COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• U.S. Cellular’s rapid increase in capacity, thanks to new spectrum access, highlights the importance of low-touch deployment and software in today’s radio networks.

• The likely extension of the ongoing lockdown raises the chances that current spectrum lending programs will need to be extended.

When it comes to COVID-19, telecommunications equipment vendors are somewhat at the mercy of forces beyond their control. In the U.S. in particular, reports of crew shortages available for tower climbs are abundant. However, with a boost from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), vendors are helping operators gain additional capacity by temporarily gaining access to new spectrum bands.

Continue reading “COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum”

COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Even as COVID-19 keeps everyone at home, mobile voice and messaging use have risen across the board.

• The increase in mobile voice traffic underlines its continued value in an era of over-the-top collaboration applications.

As most of the United States and Canada has joined Europe in a period of strict travel restrictions and work-from-home arrangements, network loads are changing in the ways one would expect: conferencing tools, streaming media, and gaming are driving huge increases in home broadband usage. But traditional mobile services are also exploding: AT&T reports that mobile voice minutes are up anywhere from 25-41% compared to an average (pre-COVID-19) day. Even mobile text messaging has increased around 40% compared to the period before the crisis. In Spain, mobile operators banded together to ask customers to shift their calls to landlines after a 50% rise in mobile calls. Continue reading “COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return”

GSMA to MWC20 Exhibitors: ‘Take It or Leave It’ on COVID-19 Refund Package

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Since COVID-19 forced the cancellation of its flagship Barcelona event, MWCA exhibitors have been waiting for details on a rebate or refund program.
  • The package announced March 25 provides a cash refund for smaller exhibitors but realistically represents a ‘take it or leave it’ package of rebates toward future events.

Since the GSMA made the difficult decision to cancel its annual conference in Barcelona in February, exhibitors have been awaiting details on the association’s refund package promised by the end of March. Now that offer has been announced, and while cash refunds are being offered for some, the vast majority of exhibitors will need to accept a package of rebates – albeit generous – toward future shows. However, the package looks punitive toward exhibitors that acted responsibly in withdrawing from the conference before it was officially cancelled. Continue reading “GSMA to MWC20 Exhibitors: ‘Take It or Leave It’ on COVID-19 Refund Package”

Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • OTN transport provides excellent performance in traditional transport use cases, but standard OTN has disadvantages that hamper its use in networks carrying 5G, IoT, and private line traffic.
  • Huawei’s OTN offering aims to future-proof OTN and promote its use in a wider set of use cases.

With operators facing limitations in flexibility, granularity, and traffic differentiation in their OTN networks, Huawei is introducing extensions to the technology – called Liquid OTN. It aims to improve OTN’s applicability to traffic types like 5G transport, IoT, private lines, and AR/VR, but also with a view toward making the networks more flexible and amenable to automation. Continue reading “Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport”

Nokia-Marvell Partnership Targets Crucial 5G Performance Gap

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia announced a partnership with Marvell Technologies in March to address a significant gap in 5G radio.
  • The Marvell partnership should help accelerate Nokia’s deployment of SoC solutions, but the company’s ill-fated decision to deploy FPGA silicon will put a damper on its results throughout 2020.

Nokia announced a new partnership with semiconductor specialist Marvell Technologies in March, under which Marvell will develop silicon for Nokia’s 5G radios. The deal is a crucial factor in Nokia’s bid to regain momentum after making some design decisions that have left it struggling to compete with other radio vendors in winning new 5G business contracts. Continue reading “Nokia-Marvell Partnership Targets Crucial 5G Performance Gap”

NGOF: Taking Optical Networks to the Next Level

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The Next Generation Optical Forum (NGOF) was founded in 2017, gathering predominantly China-based telcos, academic institutions, equipment vendors, and component/chip suppliers; in 2020, the association wants to accelerate its work on the requirements for future optical networks.
  • The current focus of the NGOF is high-quality private line technology and standards, the new generations of OTN, and 5G transport-related technologies.

Who Is the NGOF?

Founded in 2017, the NGOF has around 40 members, including network operators, system vendors, component and chip vendors, testing equipment vendors, and academic organizations. Most members are Chinese or China-based; however, some (especially on the vendor and component side) are based outside of China. Continue reading “NGOF: Taking Optical Networks to the Next Level”

Huawei Launches New 5G RAN Gear, Including Massive MIMO and More

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei promoted several new RAN solution launches at an event held in London this month, including a Super Uplink solution for increasing 5G network capacity and radios utilizing 400 MHz of bandwidth.

• Huawei also emphasized the value of both frequency- and time-division spectrum.

At an event held February 20 in London, Huawei updated press and analysts on its latest 5G moves. The vendor cited its ability to provide end-to-end solutions for 5G networks, including RAN, core, and Multi-Access Edge Computing, which helps deliver 5G’s low-latency requirements. This comprehensive approach could also enable more cohesive network slicing, a key capability for enabling 5G’s ultimate value proposition.

But Huawei also introduced some important new offerings in its RAN portfolio, along with messages that it hopes will aid its 5G RAN strategies. Continue reading “Huawei Launches New 5G RAN Gear, Including Massive MIMO and More”

HAPS Alliance Envisions an Alternative to Satellite for Connecting Remote Locations

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• The network will take years to develop, but the stratosphere’s stable climate and close proximity to Earth compared to satellite orbits could create a compelling value proposition. Bullets:

• The deep pockets of supporting companies, including Google/Alphabet, don’t hurt either.

A group of telecommunications, technology, aviation and aerospace companies announced on February 21 the formation of the HAPS (High Altitude Platform Station) Alliance, dedicated to the promotion of a new communications platform supported by aircraft hovering in the earth’s stratosphere.

Continue reading “HAPS Alliance Envisions an Alternative to Satellite for Connecting Remote Locations”

U.S. Government Control of Western Telecoms Vendors Would Be Naïve – and Damaging to U.S. Companies

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • U.S. Attorney General William Barr suggested the U.S. and its allies should consider buying a controlling stake in Nokia or Ericsson to compete more effectively in 5G.
  • Beyond being hypocritical and practically unworkable, the proposal runs counter to ongoing open RAN initiatives which could help U.S. vendors thrive in 5G by innovating.

Giving the keynote address at the U.S. Department of Justice’s China Initiative conference on February 6, U.S. Attorney General William Barr raised eyebrows by suggesting that the U.S. and its allies should consider buying a controlling stake in Nokia or Ericsson. The argument is that, while both vendors have proven successful in managing customers’ migration from 4G to 5G, they lack Huawei’s scale as well as the backing of a powerful country like China. Continue reading “U.S. Government Control of Western Telecoms Vendors Would Be Naïve – and Damaging to U.S. Companies”