Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange trials LTE-M; Telenor creates cloud unit with Cisco; Ekinops completes OneAccess buy.
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has landed a four-year contract with Egypt's Etisalat Misr to upgrade and expand its core network and business support systems. According to Ericsson, the project will help pave the way for the advent of 5G and the attendant growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is also intended to accelerate the introduction of IMS-based voice-over-LTE, voice-over-WiFi and unified communications. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
And in other Ericsson news, the vendor has opened a design center in Austin, Texas, that will focus on developing the core microelectronics of 5G radio basestations. The Austin ASIC Design Center, as it is officially known, is currently recruiting staff. (See Ericsson Opens 5G Design Site in Austin.)
Orange Business Services has launched field trials of LTE-M -- one of a number of technologies jockeying for position in the IoT sector -- in Spain, Belgium and France, ahead of its planned LTE-M network launch in 2018. It has also introduced three LTE-M devices for testing, including GPS trackers and "rugged" devices used for asset tracking. (See Orange Business Services Trials LTE-M.)
Norway-based Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) has teamed up with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to launch WorkingGroupTwo (WG2), a new platform intended to enable operators to launch cloud offerings more quickly. The platform is being set up as a separate business entity, with Erlend Prestgard as CEO. "Our aim for the new company is that it will bring the internet ecosystem dynamics closer to the telco industry," said Prestgard in a statement.
VEON , the Amsterdam-based but Russia-focused operator that was previously known as VimpelCom, has appointed Josh Drewn as its group chief compliance officer and a member of its executive management team. Drew joined VEON in 2016 as associate general counsel; before that he was at Hewlett Packard Enterprise , taking care of anti-corruption compliance, among other duties.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Zain KSA (Zain Saudi Arabia) have completed what they say is the Middle East's first trial of LTE-U, combining unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band with 1800MHz spectrum to deliver a downlink speed of 223 Mbit/s. The plan now is to deploy the technology in various hotspots, such as the malls and cafes of Jeddah and around the Holy Mosque in Makkah.
Remember when the future was bright and citrus-colored? Well, it's time to move on: Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has just rebranded in time for the largest ad campaign in its history and now, apparently, "The future is exciting. Ready?" Ironically, given his taste for a dystopian vision, Ridley Scott has been dragged in to make a video (see below) that shows just how damned exciting the future will be. Here at Eurobites Towers we cling on to our belief that the future is terrifying and, like Ethelred, we are very much unready.
A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.