Tuesday 31 August 2021

People in Mauritania are finally able to enjoy 4G

Mauritania’s small population and low economic output has limited the country’s ability to develop sustained growth. There are also practical challenges relating to transparency and tax burdens which have hindered foreign investment.

The telecom sector similarly faces difficulties, though efforts continue to be made to address them with financial support from the government as well as the World Bank and European Investment Bank. These efforts have been focussed on implementing appropriate regulatory measures and promoting the further penetration of fixed-line broadband services by improving the national backbone network, ensuring connectivity to international telecom cables, and facilitating operator access to infrastructure. Much progress has been made to improve internet bandwidth capacity, including the completion of a cable link at the border with Algeria, while by early 2021 the country will also be connected to the EllaLink submarine cable.

Mauritel maintains a virtual monopoly in the fixed-line sector, and there is little stimulus for new market entrants. Penetration of fixed telephony and broadband penetration is very low and is expected to remain so in coming years, though growth is anticipated following improvements to backbone infrastructure and the reduction in access pricing.

Most voice and data services are carried over the mobile networks maintained by Mauritel, Mattel and Chinguitel though all three have repeatedly fallen short in their quality of service, despite fines being imposed (twice in 2020 alone). This represents a significant challenge, given the importance of mobile networks for basic telecom services.

Population penetration of 3G is relatively high, though developments in LTE have been stalled repeatedly following a succession of failed licence auctions. The regulator continues to pursue it plans, issuing a renewed tender in August 2020. In the meantime, mobile broadband access speeds are low, placing a brake on the potential for mobile commerce and related applications.

The three operators Mauritel, Chinguitel, by Sudatel and Mattel, by Mauritano-Tunisienne des Télécommunications have rolled all out 2G and 3G networks, but speeds higher than around 1 Mbps cannot be expected. The operators are said to cover most population centres, but users face severe quality of service (QoS) problems. 

In October 2020 the government of Mauritania has finally awarded three provisional 4G licences following several failed attempts to offload concessions going back to 2018.  Mauritel, Chinguitel and Mattel have agreed to acquire nationwide licences, with Mattel offering MRU501 million (USD13.2 million) plus 2.5% annual 4G turnover and its two rivals submitting bids of MRU500 million plus 2.5% of annual 4G turnover. 

Mauritel is partially owned by Maroc Telecom and the largest operator in Mauritania. The network broadcasts 2G and 3G on 900 MHz and is available in the list of cities provided by Mauritel.

Chinguitel, owned by Sudanese Sudatel, is the youngest operator in Mauritania and operates 2G on 900 and 1800 MHz and 3G on 2100 MHz bands. The company also operates a CDMA network which is incompatible to most GSM devices.

Chinguitel has launched its first LTE-based services after being awarded a 4G licence last year. The operator has implemented networks in the capital city Nouakchott, as well as six regional centres: Nouadhibou, Zouerate, Atar, Akjoujt, Rosso and Kaedi. Chinguitel’s rival cellcos Moov Mauritel and Mattel launched 4G services in December 2020 and January 2021, respectively.

Mattel, owned by Mauritano-Tunisienne des Télécommunications, is the oldest network in Mauritania, commercialising their offfer under the name Mattel. The company was set up in 2000 in co-operation with Tunisie Télécom who has been trying to sell its shares since 2012.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Somalia to get 100% 4G Coverage by 2023

Somalia’s telecom market has been sustained despite infinite difficulties. The country’s economy has made it difficult to sustain investment in infrastructure, and the Al Shabaab Islamic militant group has on occasion forced the closure of internet services in many areas of the country. 

However despite the anarchy which continues to disrupt the country, the telecoms market, dominated by the competitive mobile sector where several operators compete for customers, has flourished. 

Mobile telecommunications have had a positive impact on the economy of Somalia, despite the lack of regulation. Private and unlicensed mobile companies using satellites for international communications have emerged to serve the high demand for communications. Fixed lines and mobile phones are being offered by many telecommunication operators such as: Golis Telecom Somalia, Hormuud, NationLink Telecom, Somali Telecom Group, Galkom, Global Internet Company, Telcom, Netco, Somafone, Telcom Puntland, and Telenet International. Starting in 2012, many mobile operators began launching 3G services in Somaliland and soon expanded to other regions. A number of telecommunication operators are offering LTE services in the region, including Somtel International and Telesom, both of which are based in Somaliland, while Globalsom and Sahal Telecom have launched time division duplex LTE (TD-LTE) networks in Mogadishu. In 2015, global satellite service provider O3b Networks signed satellite connectivity contracts with three Somalia telecommunication operators. 

Hormuud Telecom is Somalia's largest operator with over 4 million subscribers. They recently announced ambitious plans to increase their 4G telecom coverage to 100% by 2023.

Currently 4G access is primarily limited to major cities, and Somalis in rural areas often do not enjoy the same level of network access. As such, 30% of Hormuud’s 3.6 million customers still rely on its 2G network - the majority of which live in rural areas.

Hormuud began expanding its 4G network capacity in 2015 in partnership with the Somalia ministry of telecommunications, which estimates that across the country, over 11.25 million Somalis, some 70 percent of Somalia’s 15 million population, now have access to 4G internet. 

Their expansion of the 4G network access across the country, will give millions of rural Somalis, who still rely on 2G, access to fast internet for the first time.

Hormuud’s aim for total 4G expansion in two years is in line with current government commitments: the government’s National ICT Policy pledges to reach total 4G coverage between 2024 and 2025.

Extending 4G also aims to support Somalia's goal of becoming a cashless economy. Mobile money plays a critical role in the Somali economy, with two-thirds of all payments made on mobile money platforms.

With a national 4G coverage, Hormuud Telecom is not only targeting better access to the digital world for Somali populations but also reserves a larger subscriber base that will generate new financial revenues in a market it competes with Golis Telecom, Telesom, SomNet, Somtel, SomLink, and Nationlink.

It may come as a surprise, but the cheapest data prices in Africa are in Somalia, which falls into the top ten countries with the cheapest rates globally. This is according to a 2020 study from Cable.co.uk which ranked Somalia as the seventh cheapest globally with 1GB of data costing on average just $0.50.

The amazing thing is the massive jump that Somalia made from the 2019 report where it ranked 133rd with an average price of $6.19 per 1GB.

Also considering the strong culture of using mobile money. A 2018 World Bank report found that almost three-quarters of the Somali population aged 16 and older use mobile money.

In urban areas, mobile money penetration is at around 83% and at about 72% in camps for internally displaced people. Even in rural areas, 55% of the population uses mobile money and it has "become an essential and widespread part of Somalia's economic eco-system" the World Bank said.

Therefore Hormuud Telecom also plan to expand its mobile money financial services to reach all of the Somali population. Hormuud's CEO, Ahmed Mohamud Yuusuf, said that the low data prices are a testimony to the huge strides that the country has taken to increase its digital infrastructure.

"The next step in our journey is to reach 100% mobile money penetration. We know that mobile money is vital to Somalia's post-COVID development, allowing urban and rural communities to flourish, empowering the most vulnerable and widening financial inclusion. More recently we've also seen how incredibly important access to telecoms and Internet has been to public health during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Mobile money is popular in the country where over 95% of the local currency – the Somali Shilling – is believed to be counterfeit. For a country long affected by civil war and unrest, mobile solutions have provided the foundations for business and trade to once again emerge in the country.

Very recently the National Communications Authority (NCA) of Somalia has issued a warning that they will have to conform with the country’s unified licensing framework which complies with national communication law. All mobile operators and telecoms companies in Somalia have until the end of August 2021 to apply for licences to operate, or they will have to cease.

According to the NCA, applications for national communications infrastructure providers carry an initial fee of US$5,000. Licensees then need to pay an initial operating fee of $275,000 and an annual fee of $50,000.

In order to qualify, organisations should be registered in Somalia and have a fully registered office and permanent premises in Somalia. They also need to “provide details of shareholders and directors” and “provide evidence of tax compliance”, said the regulator.

Thursday 19 August 2021

Canadians to get 5G Upgrade after conclusion of 3.5 GHz Spectrum Auction

The Canadian telecom market continues to show steady development as operators invest in network upgrades. Much of this work is being supported by regulatory efforts to ensure that operators have spectrum available to develop 5G services, for which several auctions are planned through to 2024. Assigning and releasing spectrum for 5G will allay existing fears that the country could lag developments in the US and Europe. In addition, the regulator has set aside a portion of certain spectrum for new entrants to encourage competition in the wireless segment. Much of the investment among operators has been channelled into LTE infrastructure to capitalise of consumer demand for mobile data services, while there has also been further investment in 5G.

At the same time, fixed-line telephony services are dwindling as customers make greater use of mobile networks and VoIP options. Revenue from the broadband and mobile sectors is underpinning overall telecom sector revenue while the fixed-voice sector continues to decline.

The mobile penetration rate remains comparatively low by international standards, and so the market offers further room for growth. Canadians are well provided for LTE and LTE-A infrastructure. Despite topographical challenges and the remoteness of many areas, the major players effectively offer 99% population coverage with LTE. 

The government has endeavoured to encourage market competition by ensuring that blocks of spectrum have been reserved for new entrants, while preventing deals among operators which would have concentrated spectrum either regionally or nationally. About 43% of spectrum to be auctioned in the 600MHz band has been reserved for smaller operators in a bid to encourage competition.

Canada has 3 national mobile providers: Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus Mobility. In the last few years all networks have moved to the GSM-based technology on 3G and 4G/LTE, CDMA is gone.

On 2G (GSM/EDGE) Rogers is the only provider on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. All operators have 3G (UMTS) on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. 4G (LTE) is widely available on all providers. If you have signal, chances are you will be getting at least 3G.

In Canada, UMTS-based HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+ used to be called "4G". Real 4G on LTE began some years ago on the Big Three networks on 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4). Rogers, Bell, and  Telus also support the 2600 MHz (B7) frequency, which is far more compatible with devices from overseas, but it is usually not deployed throughout the full footprint and is generally confined to the big cities. Bell and Telus have also refarmed some 1900 MHz (B2) to LTE. Extended coverage (meaning Rogers roaming on Bell/Telus, and the reverse) is not available to prepaid customers. As a general rule, Bell and Rogers are stronger in the east and Telus is stronger in the west, but Bell and Telus have implemented RAN sharing, so they can effectively be seen as one network. Also important to note is that Rogers only has "extended" coverage in the north of Canada (Yukon/Northwest Territory/Nunavut), so you will not have coverage as a prepaid user. If you need coverage in the north, you will need to sign up with Bell, Telus, or one of their sub-brands, or get an Ice Wireless SIM once you arrive.

The government of Canada recently confirmed it had raised a total of CAD8.9 billion in its auction of 3.5 GHz spectrum, which will be used by local carrier to further expand 5G services in the country.

5G licenses in this key band were made available based on 172 localized service areas covering the entire country, allowing bidders to target geographic markets, including rural areas. The government noted that a total of 23 companies participated in the auction. In total, 1,495 out of 1,504 available licenses were awarded to 15 operators, including 757 licenses to small and regional providers across the country.

In Opensignal’s first comparison of the 5G experience across carriers in Canada, they found a mobile network experience landscape characterized by extreme competition. Out of seven awards for the taking, not one award category was won outright by any of the operators. Users saw three-way statistical ties between Bell, Rogers and Telus on three metrics — 5G Availability, 5G Reach and 5G Upload Speed — and in the remaining categories, users saw ties between two operators.

Historically, Canada has been one of the leading 4G markets globally when it comes to mobile network experience. In the latest Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report, all three national carriers — Bell, Rogers, and Telus — placed in the top ten for Download Speed Experience, but when it comes to 5G, Canada is losing global leadership.

Due to challenges with limited 5G spectrum Canada is now losing ground in 5G compared with other countries. This change of fortunes as we enter the 5G era is likely because Canada’s carriers are limited to deploying 5G in lower spectrum bands for now, as the auction of the critical 3.5 GHz mid-band spectrum was delayed until June 2021 due to COVID-19. However, even then, Canadian carriers will have access in this auction to a very limited amount of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band — 200 MHz (maximum of 150 MHz for Bell, Telus and Rogers) — which is significantly lower compared to many other 5G countries. The full capabilities of 5G are best realized through the wider channel sizes in the new 5G bands, as for users to enjoy the best 5G speeds, carriers need to be able to deploy 5G with 100 Mhz channel sizes which is extremely difficult for carriers to achieve without access to new mid-band spectrum.

Open Signal have also reported on the difference in mobile experience in urban and rural areas. This improved drastically over the years and, on average, is significantly higher than in many other countries globally. However, Opensignal's analysis shows that the urban/rural divide in the mobile experience continues to exist in the country. While the operators and government have been addressing this issue, it is evident that there is more to be done to remove the rural-urban gap.

Rogers and its sub-brands are the only national provider who offers GSM-based 2G on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz up to EDGE. Due to network sharing between the other two telcos, Rogers has slightly less coverage than other two but you will not notice much difference unless you are deep in the mountains or remote areas. A device capable of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in 3G or 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4)/1900 MHz (B2) in 4G is essential.

Rogers was the first operator to bring 5G to Canadians in early 2020, and over the past year and a half it has delivered 5G connectivity to over 800 communities across Canada, now reaching more than 50% of Canadians. By the end of 2021, over 1,000 communities – more than 70% of the population – will have access to Rogers 5G. Recently, Rogers invested $3.3 billion in 3500 MHz band spectrum, covering 99.4% of the Canadian population, to enhance and accelerate the expansion of Canada’s first, largest and most reliable 5G network.

Telus and its sub-brands Koodo and Public Mobile have a GSM 3G and 4G network which is slightly better than Rogers. Their 3G/4G footprint is identical with Bell as they share the same towers. A device capable of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in 3G or 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4)/1900 MHz (B2) in 4G is essential. 

Telus recently announced the acquisition of new 3500 MHz spectrum licences in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec at a cost of $1.95 billion. Combined with the spectrum it acquired privately in January 2021, Telus now holds licences to an average of 25 MHz of 3500 spectrum nationally and 40 MHz in our key markets, at an average price of $2.53 per MHz-pop. These licences will enable Telus to deliver enhanced mobile 5G broadband connectivity to its customers nationwide. The 3500 MHz band is mid-band spectrum that has become the critical global band for 5G innovation, as it offers the best combination of speed, capacity due to its wide channels and improved latency performance and coverage.

Bell's coverage is identical with Telus, due to their tower sharing agreements. A device capable of 850 MHz and 1900 MHz in 3G or 700 MHz (B12/13/17) and 1700 MHz (B4)/1900 MHz (B2) in 4G is essential. 4G/LTE is given out for prepaid:

Canadian carrier Bell’s 5G services already reach more than 40% of the country’s population and are on track to reach 70% coverage by the end of the 2021. They have secured 30% of the 3.5 GHz spectrum available to national wireless carriers at the recently concluded auction for a price of CAD2.07 billion ($1.67 billion). This included an additional 30 megahertz in each of the top three markets and an incremental 22 megahertz in their rural wireless-to-the-home markets.

Earlier this year, Bell announced the biggest capital expenditure plan in its history, with at least CAD1 billion in additional capital investment in new networks over the next two years to support the national economic and employment recovery from COVID-19. This investment is in addition to the more than $4 billion that Bell typically invests annually in next generation wireless and fibre network infrastructure and service development.

Bell announced the launch of its commercial 5G service in the country June 2020. The carrier’s 5G service was initially available in Montréal, the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Also in 2020, Bell Canada selected Ericsson 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) technology to support its nationwide 5G mobile and fixed wireless access deployment. The carrier started the construction of its 5G network last year, using equipment from Finnish vendor Nokia.

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Sunday 15 August 2021

How 5G will enable a Digital Society

At the 2021 Joint EuCNC (European Conference on Networks and Communications) & 6G Summit, Manuel Ramalho Eanes, Executive Board Member, NOS SGPS, Portugal talked about "How 5G will enable a Digital Society". NOS is the largest communications and entertainment group in Portugal. It offers state-of-the-art fixed and mobile solutions to all market segments, supported by the most advanced technologies. In 2020, NOS was the largest private Portuguese R&D investor, reflecting a strong commitment to innovation and technological development, which is part of NOS DNA since day one. The following is the abstract of the talk:

In this context, we look at 5G not only as our main strategic pillar but as an important catalyst for the upcoming industrial revolution, which promises to change the way we live, how companies work and how societies govern themselves. The disruption that 5G contains, more than the direct extrapolation of its characteristics, envolves all the adjacent technologies that it drives. Without the latency, reliability, resilience, speed and performance of 5G, these technologies would never be scalable. In this sense, 5G is the accelerator of a digital society marked by immersive experiences, autonomous and collaborative mechanisms, massive exchanges of information, artificial intelligence and sensing of the physical world.

To seize this opportunity, it is therefore necessary to work in a network, fostering comprehensive and complementary ecosystems, with a great focus on experimentation, but also on the real value for the economy. That’s how we started our path to 5G at NOS. By creating agile teams, with employees from multiple departments, but working close to various partners, ensuring the adaptation of technology to each business, in different contexts. In this sense, we believe that we are at the forefront of technology implementation, actively contributing to the construction of smart cities and the development of society 5.0. As an engine of transformation in Portugal and always embracing the future, NOS wants to inspire and mobilize everyone to conquer new possibilities, in a country and culture that has the fundamental requirements to incubate the ideas and initiatives that will transform the world.

Here is the video of the talk:

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Thursday 12 August 2021

Indonesia gets 5G

Early June 2021, Telkomsel became the first Indonesian operator to launch commercial 5G services, covering the cities of Balikpapan, Medan and Surakarta. In June, Telkomsel expanded coverage to include another five cities in Java and islands, namely Surabaya (Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Bandung (Java), Batam (Riau Islands) and Denpasar (Bali) and plans to expand to a total of ten cities by the end of 2021. 

The 5G network is also expected to cover Telkomsel Smart Office in Jakarta, the Bandung Institute of Technology, Telkom University in West Java and Telkomsel branch offices in nine cities. The operator’s 5G launch is supported by several devices compatible with 5G non-standalone technology operating in the 2300 MHz band, including Oppo Reno5 5G, Huawei Mate 40, Vivo X60 and Vivo X60 Pro.

Ericsson long-standing partner to Telkomsel showcased several 5G use cases at the recent 5G launch event, demonstrating  5G benefits for both consumers and enterprises.

For consumers, immersive and enhanced video is one of the most exciting use cases 5G can bring. 5G’s high speed and low latency enables a 360 degrees 4K video streaming with wireless connectivity, allowing consumers to enjoy an unparalleled immersive broadcasting experience in real-time through VR goggles.

At the event, Ericsson provided interactive booths where the visitors experienced 360 VR live streaming from Batam city, using a wearable neckband 360 degrees camera from a startup which is part of the Ericsson Startup5G program. This was accomplished using an end-to-end 5G connectivity between Batam and Jakarta.

Furthermore, 5G will transform how enterprises operate, unlocking new possibilities for the future. Ericsson also showcased a "live" augmented reality visualization of the digital twin of an actual city.  Immersive technologies such as mixed reality will enable city planners to make better decisions for sustainable urbanism in the future.

In late June, rival operator, Indosat Ooredoo, announced the launch of its 5G services in the city of Surakarta. The NSA network, supplied by Huawei, is using the 1800 MHz spectrum band and is available to both the business and consumer market segments. The operator is planning to extend its 5G footprint in other cities, including Jakarta, Surabaya and Makassar. The 5G commercial launch is part of a partnership between Surakarta Municipality to support economic recovery, including collaboration with small-medium size enterprise empowerment, digital talent education, and smart city development.

Known locally as Solo, Surakarta looking to 5G to boost its post-Covid economic recovery through smart city initiatives and enhanced services.The roll out will support smart city initiatives and more efficient processes for city services and local business.

Helping shape its reputation as a smart city, Ooredoo will also establish a smart information hub at Solo's City Hall that connects the city’s command centre to more than 2,700 RT community residents to provide real-time information across the entire city.

Supporting digital education, Indosat Ooredoo will provide content creator training and coaching to 2,000 of Solo’s youth and main youth-leading communities. The company is also providing Augmented Reality (AR) training for 500 young developers in Solo.

Finally, Ooredoo is providing its micro-lending offer UCan to local MSMEs to help fund the growth of their businesses.

The Solo launch will be followed by commercial roll outs in other major cities in Indonesia, including Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar.

Indonesian operators XL Axiata and Smartfren must conduct operational tests before launching their 5G services.

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Sunday 8 August 2021

The Growth of Cheap Mobile Data

The analyst first Tefficient whose motto is to "Measure, compare and improve competitiveness within telecoms" recently published this chart on their Twitter. It nicely shows that the data usage is growing while the costs are generally getting lower.

Canada has always been an exception and a leader in expensive data plans. It doesn't look like it will change any time soon.

For more details see Tefficient’s 31st public analysis of the development and drivers of mobile data that compares 45 countries from all regions of the world. You can also download the detailed analysis in PDF here.

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Thursday 5 August 2021

Guyana still has plenty of Fake 4G

The only English-speaking nation in South America, Guyana has a small population which traditionally had one of the lowest GDP rates in the region. Although GDP growth had been steady in recent years, the sale of oil from offshore reserves which started in February 2020 promises to completely transform the economy. With good stewardship, oil revenue has the potential to lead to a major overhaul of the country’s infrastructure, including the aging telecom networks.

The incumbent telco Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T, rebranded as GTT in late 2015) is controlled by the US-based Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN). The company competes with Digicel in the mobile market but retains a monopoly over fixed-line services. Although GTT’s fixed-line monopoly was renewed for 20 years in December 2010 it drew to a close following the passing of the 2016 Telecommunications Act. However, since 2017 there have been delays in negotiations between the government and GTT relating to the terms of the market liberalisation and so the monopoly has been retained in practice: GTT still claims that it enjoys a monopoly on international voice and data services until 2030. Digicel is expected to launch competing services in the fixed-line market as soon as it is able to do so. In 2019 the government signed an MoU with ATN regarding licensing terms and the benefits expected to develop from market liberalisation. However, relations between the company and government are fraught, not least in relation to tax arears amounting to some $44 million.

In the mobile sector GTT’s mobile unit Cellink competes with Digicel Guyana. Both operate GSM/GPRS networks while Cellink in mid-2017 also launched a limited LTE service.

2G is on GSM 900 MHz. 3G/HSPA+ has started on 850 MHz in May 2016, but it's branded as "4G" by both operators. Check that your phone supports 3G on 850 MHz or you'll be limited to EDGE speeds. Real 4G/LTE has been started in March 2017 by GTT+ in Essequibo so far only to be spread to more towns later on 700 MHz (band 28).

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) is the incumbent provider in the country. Digicel arrived in 2006 as second provider for much needed competition in the mobile sector. In 2016 the government decided to break up this duopoly and may admit more players soon.

In 2018 the Suriname government shut down what it claims was an illegal microwave link providing cross-border communications between Digicel Suriname and Digicel Guyana. The switch-off led to widespread disruption of data services to Digicel’s subscribers in Guyana. Guyanese fixed line incumbent Guyana Telegraph and Telephone Company (GTT) retains a monopoly on international voice and data transmission despite a near decade-long effort by the Guyanese government to negotiate and end exclusivity but has previously accused its cellular rival of illegally bypassing its network.

Mobile coverage is present only along the coast and in some river valleys up to Linden and Bartica. Most inland areas are not covered by the networks and a satellite telephone is required. Speeds are reasonable according to OpenSignal on 3G with 1-2 Mbit/s, but latency is rather high.

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) is the incumbent provider in the country. The US-owned company is the only landline operator, the biggest internet provider, has still a monopoly on international lines and operates the only fibre optic submarine cables.

It's mobile network was rebranded from Cellink plus to GTT+ in 2015. They have a slightly better mobile coverage compared with Digicel.

2G is on GSM 900 MHz. 3G/HSPA+ has started on 850 MHz in May 2016. It's branded as "4G". 4G/LTE has started on 700 MHz (band 28) in some major towns. In 2019 Georgetown, Great Diamond, Lusignan, Rosignol, Blairmont and New Amsterdam are covered by 4G/LTE.

Digicel Guyana is part of the international Digicel Group. They started in 2006 as second provider and are not fully on par with GTT yet.

2G is on GSM 900 Mhz. 3G/HSPA+ has started on 850 MHz in May 2016. It's branded as "4G". There is no real 4G/LTE yet with Digicel.

The Telecommunications Agency of Guyana has confirmed plans to issue three 700MHz spectrum licences this month.

As reported by Guyana’s Official Gazette, GTT (Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company) will receive permits for the blocks covering 708MHz-718MHz/763MHz-773MHz, E-Networks will be granted the 718MHz-738MHz/773MHz-793MHz holding, and U-Mobile (which uses the Digicel brand) will receive the 738MHz-748MHz/793MHz-803MHz blocks.

The licence issue follows an extensive overhaul of regulatory frameworks in Guyana’s telecoms sector, which was implemented in October 2020. This was the result of more than a decade of reform attempts.

Many reforms were implemented, including regulations surrounding spectrum management and frequency authorisation for individual operators. The latter of these will require amendment once the new licences are issued.

Sunday 1 August 2021

Deutsche Telekom's 'Tech Grounds' 2021

Back in June, Deutsche Telekom hosted a digital conference for sharing knowledge and experiencing the latest innovations. 'Telekom Tech Grounds' for magenta technology and green power took place on 28 & 29 June 2021. The event was hosted virtually and the admission was free for all. You can access the event here.

The Media Information kit highlighted:

Deutsche Telekom presents ideas and technical solutions that address four key questions: How will we tackle climate change as a Telco – together with our partners and clients? How will innovations empower business and digital health solutions? How will we leverage real-time data to build smart digital lifestyle environments and ecosystems? How will we transform networks into software-based platforms and services, enabling new business models? 

Four topic areas will be presented on different virtual stages. They focus on "Business Innovation," "Network Differentiation," "Home Innovation" and "Sustainability." 

Digital transformation in the telecommunications and IT industry is advancing at a rapid pace. "Digital technologies will play a key role in overcoming current challenges: without them, for example, we will not achieve climate neutrality," said Claudia Nemat, Telekom Board member responsible for technology and innovation. The CTO adds examples: "Video conferencing can continue to replace a large part of business travel. In agriculture, IoT-based applications effectively reduce the use of fertilizer, while smart home and smart grid applications help reduce our electricity consumption."  

Telekom switches on O-RAN Town in Neubrandenburg

Deutsche Telekom has put its ‘O-RAN Town’ into operation in Neubrandenburg, Germany. RAN stands for "Radio Access Network" and refers to components of antenna technology in mobile communications. And Open RAN, because unlike in the past, technology components from a large number of different technology suppliers are to work together. O-RAN Town will provide 4G and 5G services based on Open RAN at up to 25 sites. The first sites have now gone into operation and been integrated into Telekom Deutschland's live network. This includes Europe's first integration of Massive MIMO radio units (mMIMO, MIMO = multiple input, multiple output). This involves the use of a large number of small antennas per transmission unit. 

At O-RAN Town, Deutsche Telekom is researching, enhancing and verifying the end-to-end capabilities of the Service Management and Orchestration Tool (SMO) developed in-house based on open source. The SMO is used for automated testing, remote site configuration, and network anomaly detection and resolution. Deutsche Telekom plans to gradually expand O-RAN Town, working with various vendors. These solutions are currently being tested in the lab to ensure interoperability across all components. 

Network slicing for customized networks

Individual requirements are playing an increasingly important role, especially in industry: data rates, speeds or latency times. To meet these requirements, Telekom is testing network slicing. This means operating multiple virtual networks in parallel on the basis of a common network infrastructure. Network slicing is a key feature of 5G. Several virtual networks can be operated on a single physical network infrastructure. The network is “cut into slices", the so-called network slices. Different service characteristics and quality parameters can be provided for each "slice". The slices are completely isolated from each other. They can thus be adapted to different customer requirements. 

Together with its partners Ericsson and Samsung, Deutsche Telekom has now announced the world's first implementation, which was carried out across all manufacturers in the laboratory environment in Bonn. Another new feature allows a device to steer applications and services with specific requirements to a defined slice. With this, a customer can experience great service quality by serving applications with the right network slice.

Deutsche Telekom and Samsung join forces for sustainability 

Deutsche Telekom and Samsung are entering into a strategic partnership for sustainability. The core of the collaboration is the development of a green smartphone suitable for the mass market. It will support 5G technology and be designed to be sustainable. This includes easy repair and a removable battery. The smartphone is planned for the end of 2022.

The two companies are also focusing on a holistic approach. This also focuses on the service life of smartphones. Samsung is already an integral part of the Telekom cell phone cycle in Germany and Poland, which gives phones a second life. As part of the cycle, Telekom repurchases used phones, refurbishes them, and puts them back into circulation.

Digital port logistics: Drones secure port of Hamburg

Customer satisfaction is also a focus for Telekom when it comes to setting up campus networks. A few days ago, Telekom announced the establishment of a campus network in the Port of Hamburg on behalf of HHLA Sky, a subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. HHLA Sky will control and monitor a fleet of industrial drones from a single control center using the campus network. At HHLA's terminals, the drones will inspect container bridges and asphalt surfaces to improve safety on the port site. This saves time compared to previous inspection procedures. In addition, the drones reliably transmit sensor and flight data via the campus network.

IoT Boost

Getting devices and applications up and running on the IoT is now easier than ever: Telekom and 1NCE, with clear focus on low bandwidth IoT connectivity, in cooperation with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), offer the new Zero Touch service. This makes the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions as if by magic: simple and fast in the cloud with automated device onboarding on AWS. This is designed to rapidly reduce the complexity for customers by enabling them to easily set up and run their IoT solutions.

And that's the point. Technology must put people at the center. That applies to this solution as well as the others presented. Hence the motto of the Telekom Tech Grounds: #HumancenteredTechnology.  www.techgrounds.telekom.com.

You can also find a short summary of Telekom Tech Ground Network Differentiation Session by Dr. Alex Jinsung Choi, Deutsche Telekom Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Technology Innovation, COO of O-RAN Alliance, on his LinkedIn post here. Some pictures from the O-RAN session can be found on the LinkedIn post by Abdu Mudesir, Senior Vice President of Deutsche Telekom, here.

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