Telecom Industry News

By: Scott St. John

Early this month we officially passed the midpoint of this unprecedented year. Industry news continued to come in at a brisk pace in the first part of the summer, bringing news of partnerships that push digital transformation, supply chain transformation and the future of the connected car. 5G deployments across the world are progressing despite the ongoing pandemic, according to new industry research released this month. And solutions, developments, trials and more continue to advance the Internet of Things, the focus for this month’s issue of Pipeline.

Innovation and Leaderboard News

The Federal Communication Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated two companies—Huawei Technologies Company (Huawei) and ZTE Corporation (ZTE), as well as their parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries—as covered companies for purposes of the agency’s November 2019 ban on the use of universal service support to purchase equipment or services from companies posing a national security threat. In addition, the FCC adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, three-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The rules require all phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022. The FCC also adopted rules to further encourage phone companies to block illegal and unwanted robocalls before they reach consumers. The new rules offer companies two safe harbors from liability for the unintended or inadvertent blocking of wanted calls, thus eliminating a concern that kept some companies from implementing robust robocall blocking efforts.

Partnerships focused on innovation and transformation made headlines this month. Samsung and Microsoft announced a new global partnership to combine smart appliances and cloud technology for digital transformation in the real estate and property management industries. Cerence Inc. announced that it has partnered with GmbH, a joint venture between Audi Electronics Venture GmbH and Elektrobit Automotive GmbH, to develop game-changing innovations for the automotive cockpit of the future.

Research insights showed us where the pandemic and innovation are taking us. A new study from Juniper Research has found that memberships in loyalty programs with a digital element will increase by 30 percent globally by 2023—highlighting that economic challenges remain for consumers and retailers and digital loyalty will serve as a key differentiator. MarketStudyReport Worldwide released new research on the global video streaming market, which is estimated to garner substantial revenues over 2020-2025. The growth is primarily attributed to increasing utilization of Internet services and rising adoption of smartphones.

In Belgium, Telenet, the country’s largest cable broadband service provider, has gone live with Netcracker Technology’s Digital BSS, enabling the company to streamline, simplify and standardize billing processes, deliver new digital services faster and provide a better customer experience across business lines.

Mergers and acquisitions also made news. Vodafone Group announced that Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited (VHA) and TPG Telecom Limited (TPG) have completed their merger to establish a fully integrated telecommunications operator in Australia. In other M&A news, Mobileum Inc. has acquired SIGOS. With this acquisition, Mobileum will be able to provide end-to-end testing and analytics for 5G and IoT.

5G News

5G progress in connections and deployments continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, according to 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas. According to data from Omdia, there are now over 63.6 million 5G connections globally as of Q1 2020, which represents 308.66 percent growth over Q4 2019.

Nokia announced that its next-generation 5G AirScale Cloud RAN solution based on vRAN2.0 will be commercially available this year with general availability expected in 2021, following a series of successful trials. Nokia also announced that its CloudBand-based software products are powering Bharti Airtel’s (“Airtel”) Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network in India. The network supports over 110 million customers, making it the largest cloud-based VoLTE network in India and the largest Nokia-run VoLTE in the world. 

And, Nokia and Windstream announced they have completed the initial sites for a nationwide core IP network enhancement to significantly expand capacity for next-generation broadband and 5G services. Nokia also released a software-based upgrade that will enable its 4G/LTE radios to be migrated seamlessly to 5G/NR, which will help to streamline the process of refarming 4G/LTE spectrum into 5G/NR. The move will also support existing customers and the installed base by offering a seamless and cost-effective upgrade path to 5G/NR.


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