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3 May 2022

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news

By Wireless Watch Staff

BT and Toshiba launch quantum cryptography service

BT and Toshiba are deploying a metro network secured by quantum key distribution (QKD), claiming this to be a world-first.

This will connect customers across London, transmitting data between multiple physical locations over standard fiber optic links using quantum cryptography, which makes it impossible for hackers to intercept encryption and decryption keys in transit without detection. In the event of detection, new keys can be redistributed.

The objective is to eliminate eavesdropping of encryption keys as a security vulnerability, although this does not avoid other potential threats associated for example with corrupt employees. Nonetheless, this offers hope for highly secure communications, with professional services group Ernst and Young (EY) announced as the first commercial customer.

This follows the earlier announcement in October 2020 by BT and Toshiba of the UK’s first preliminary concept-proving industrial deployment of a quantum-secure network, transmitting between the National Composites Centre (NCC), the UK’s world-leading composite research and development facility, and the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS), a not-for-profit research organization that pioneers new digital engineering capabilities.

Bell strikes 5G MEC deal with AWS

Canadian telco Bell has launched a public multi-access edge computing (MEC) service in Toronto, with more zones to come. This follows an agreement reached in June 2020 to deploy AWS Wavelength Zones throughout Canada at the edge of Bell’s 5G network, comprising embedded AWS compute and storage services.

“With general availability of AWS Wavelength Zones on Canada’s fastest network, it becomes possible for businesses to tap into new capabilities, reaching new markets and serving customers in exciting new ways,” said Jeremy Wubs, SVP of product marketing and professional services for Bell Business Markets.

Bell has been stepping up its 5G roll-out, after in 2021 announcing a CAD1.7bn ($1.32bn) investment over two years to accelerate deployment of cellular and fiber infrastructure.

Juniper’s service provider business is no longer its largest

Juniper has reported a 2.3% year-on-year fall in revenues from its service provider business, citing supply chain challenges that have affected gross margin. The company reported first quarter revenue, for the whole organization, up 9% year-on-year to $1.2bn.

However, Wall Street analysts at Raymond James analysts said Juniper had “strong order patterns and the growing backlog now over $2bn”.

Juniper CEO Rami Rahim said components shortages have reduced the ability to ship enough units in its flagship MX Series of SDN-based routers. He added: “We shipped a little bit more of mixed access points, which at the time of shipment carries a relatively low margin compared to the rest of our portfolio but obviously, as we sell more software and we recognize that software, which happens over time, it is margin-positive over the long run.”

Juniper’s cloud business grew by 13% and its enterprise unit by 18.5% in the quarter, and this was the first time that the enterprise operation was the company’s largest by revenue.

“Cloud and enterprise strength more than offset a modest decline in our service provider vertical, which was due entirely to the timing of shipments as a result of supply chain challenges,” said Rahim.

Mavenir and Samsung announce latest Open RAN moves

Mavenir has announced its latest Open RAN Center of Excellence in Bonn, Germany, where Deutsche Telekom is headquartered. It will also set up satellite teams in Munich and Düsseldorf, the German Open RAN and R&D hubs for Telefónica Deutschland and Vodafone respectively.

Mavenir has set up similar centers in the UK, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Also in Open RAN, Samsung has become a member of the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC), the top decision-making body of the O-RAN Software Community, the open source strand of the O-RAN Alliance. The Committee has 12 members, of which six are from the vendor community. This will give Samsung a say in the final approval of the biannual open source code release.

UK’s BT will adopt EE brand as the primary one for consumer services

UK incumbent telco BT Group will make EE, currently its mobile brand, the flagship brand for all consumer services going forward, in order to simplify its proposition and reflect an increasing focus on convergence.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT Consumer, said this would be a change from “today’s approach in the consumer market where BT and EE both take center stage. Having both BT and EE in an already crowded consumer market means we must have two of everything, and that makes life harder for our customers and our people: two accounts, two apps, two product roadmaps and multiple systems…we need to simplify things, for everyone.”

The BT brand will be focused on consumers who use broadband and landline services only, and will remain the brand for enterprise and global services units. BT Sport is also unaffected.