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3 May 2022

Six operators call for start-ups to join Alaian 5G co-development initiative

Six operators, including Telefónica, have formed a new alliance called Alaian, which has the rather broad remit of “stimulating innovation” in telecoms. The founders have issued a “global call for start-ups” with interesting 5G use cases.

The six founders of Alaian are Bouygues Telecom of France; European towerco Cellnex; The Netherlands’ KPN; South Africa-based group MTN; Spain-based Telefónica Group; and Wind Tre of Italy. Together they operate in 50 countries and collectively have 700m customers, so they certainly have the scale to make a difference, though that does automatically endorse their claim to be “disruptive telcos”.

They said they aim to “share best practices on innovation and generate different use cases on the latest market developments and technologies they are implementing”. They are particularly looking for start-ups working on 5G applications in seven segments – communications and infrastructure; industry, manufacturing and logistics; mobility; utilities and energy; metaverse and Web3; media, entertainment and gaming; and retail.

Start-ups have until May 31 to apply and will be asked to do a pitch to the Alliance on June 7. Those selected will work with the Alliance operators, gaining access to their 5G labs and working on pilots. There will also be the opportunity to “sit down with our network specialists and teams to exchange knowledge, co-develop, and solve problems together… and tap into the technical, commercial and product support from our network of experts, mentors, and coaches,” said the launch statement. There might even be the possibility to attract investment from members’ investment arms, such as Telefónica Ventures, for example.