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20 September 2022

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news


Mavenir ousts Huawei from Deutsche Telekom 5G core

Deutsche Telekom has installed Mavenir as a preferred vendors in its 5G core and installed equipment, as part of an ongoing replacement of Huawei systems in response to pressure from the USA.

This follows DT’s recent deployment of a cloud-native 5G core in Germany, based on an existing Kubernetes-based software container platform.

“This sets us on a path towards a fully automated network with the reliability, massive scale and flexibility required to deliver innovative 5G SA (Standalone) services to our consumer and enterprise customers,” said DT’s CTO Abdurazak Mudesir.

The Mavenir Converged Packet Core supports data, voice and messaging services, as well as network slicing, around a cloud-native design enabling third party vendor network function integration.

IBM partners Bharti Airtel for edge compute in India

IBM has started collaborating with Indian telco Bharti Airtel to develop edge computing capabilities for 120 network data centers in the country across 20 cities.

The companies present the project as a business accelerator not just for large Indian manufacturing, engineering and automotive firms, but also other industries, as well as for start-ups working on emerging edge use cases and applications.

This is described as a hybrid platform to be deployed using IBM’s Cloud Satellite and Red Hat OpenShift on the Kubernetes software container system increasingly prevalent for such activities in the communications sector, as well as many others.

This is not just about 5G, for the edge components will also work with 4G, where it supports the control/user plane separation (CUPS) architecture (see separate item).

Thales aims to simplify IoT through consumer-style eSIMs

French aerospace and security conglomerate Thales has engineered an embedded SIM (eSIM) activation package for IoT devices, with the pitch that this will simplify configuration and management of IoT networks and services.

This will be achieved by incorporating Thales’ Cinterion modules in the devices, with international cellular connectivity provided by Belgium-based carrier services company BICS, through the latter’s global telco partners.

Thales designed the mechanism, called eSIM Connectivity Activation, which requires a single eSIM SKU capable of connecting to any BICS carrier partner. This will enable simplified manufacturing, easier integration, reduced investment, and quicker deployments, according to BICS and Thales. BICS will enable the provisioning of eSIMs inside Thales Cinterion modules via its ‘SIM for Things’ IoT connectivity plan.

The Thales IoT business has been acquired by Italian-American IoT module maker Telit, through a deal in which Telit acquires 25% of the latter’s expanded industrial IoT business. Thales is therefore offloading direct IoT activities while still hoping to profit from anticipated growth in the field.

US mobile operators boost capex by 16% in 2021 to scale $35bn

The USA’s MNOs invested $35bn collectively in network infrastructure in 2021, up 16% on the $30bn total of 2020, to reach a cumulative capex of $121bn in the four years since 2018.

Mobile traffic has risen equally steeply, from 42.2tn MB in 2020 to 53.4tn MB in 2021, according to CTIA, the industry body representing the wireless industry in the USA.

“Wireless is America’s most competitive industry, and that competition continues to spur record levels of investment to build the world’s leading 5G networks,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA president and CEO. “Wireless competition is also continuing to benefit consumers—pushing wireless prices down and bringing real competition to cable.”

AT&T ships 145,000 home small cells to ease 3G-5G migration

AT&T has shipped 145,000 in-home small cells, sourced from Nokia to help migrate customers from 3G to 5G for home mobile broadband.

AT&T’s old, 3G-only Metrocell was introduced in 2010 and cost several thousand dollars – but at least 145,000 AT&T customers purchased the devices. It stopped selling the devices several years ago as it moved to shut down 3G, which was completed earlier this year.

Now the operator is shipping the Nokia Cell Booster to customers that were affected by the 3G switch-off. It sells Cell Booster to consumers for $230 and offers Cell Booster Pro, which supports a broader coverage area, to business customers and public safety on FirstNet.