One of the most-awaited telecom stories is an update on the massive ransomware attack on the Florida-based Kaseya. We discuss the impact, the number of businesses affected, and the steps forward. We also look at another major development that causes concerns. Namely, the Myanmar junta pushing the foreign telecoms to comply with their electronic surveillance practices. In the regulatory sector, we will look at Hong Kong’s proposed privacy law changes that received widespread criticism from giant social media platforms. We will also look at FTC’s decision regarding Broadband chip monopoly. We also look at the IoT news stories, with the IoT trials launching at the port of Ipswich and the first commercial 5G IoT satellite by OQ Technology sent into orbit. And finally, we will cover several 5G stories as there were several important developments in the 5G sector. Orange launched an experimental 5G network and it also considers a surprising Huawei partnership for a 5G rollout in Africa. Meanwhile, Ericsson is granted a mega 5G deal in Malaysia, and the first 700 MHz Standalone 5G network in the world is launched in Australia. Take a look at our newest telecom weekly.
Last week, Orange announced it would be launching an experimental network using a cloud-based open platform and AI. The network is set to start operating already in July as telecoms desperately rush to shift their services onto the cloud. Orange will build the network in northern France, cooperating with several big names such as Hewlett Packard, Dell, Xiaomi, Mavenir, and Casa Systems.
“This experimental network will enable Orange to understand the customer benefit of a fully clouderised network, as well as AI,” Orange’s Chief Technology Officer Michael Trabbia, told reporters on a call. “We’ll start small but ramp up quickly to encompass hundreds of users by the end of this year.”
Orange wants to expand the network to other countries by 2022, with Spain being the most likely candidate for exportation.
“We’re seeing big expectations from customers, the industry … as with the factory of the future: augmented maintenance, high-definition monitoring, logistical elements which we’re working to optimize thanks to this type of network,” Trabbia added.
Foreign citizens that hold senior executive roles in telecom companies operating in Myanmar have been instructed by the junta not to leave the country. A confidential order from Myanmar’s Posts and Telecommunications Department (PTD) banned both foreign and Myanmar nationals from leaving without authorization. Following came a letter that requires the telecoms to fully implement intercept technology that allows authorities to spy on calls, web traffic, and messages and tracks users.
The newest orders deepen the pressure on the foreign companies from the junta and increase the possibility large foreign telecom companies operating in Myanmar, such as the Norwegian Telenor, will try to leave the sector.
Although the junta has never publicly spoken out about their electronic surveillance, straight after they came to power, a new cybersecurity bill was passed, requiring telecoms to provide all data when requested by the government and remove any content that the junta deems as “dangerous”. Privacy laws were also amended to give security forces more power.
At the end of last week, Malaysia announced they appointed the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson to develop the 5G network and ecosystem in Malaysia. In a $2.65 billion deal that the state-owned Digital Nasional Berhard (DNB) is responsible for, Ericsson will provide end-to-end development including the core, radio access, and transport network, operation and business support systems, and managed systems.
“Ericsson has undertaken to arrange to finance for the supply, delivery, and management of the entire 5G network,” DNB said.“Ericsson will also undertake capacity building and innovation programs to support local vendor development and participation, as well as to boost 5G adoption amongst the public. This is in addition to developing use cases to accelerate industry participation.”
This undoubted win for Ericsson is without a doubt another hit to Huawei that was seen as a frontrunner for the 5G contract in Malaysia. The 5G expected launch date is the end of this year in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya and 2023 for the rest of the country.
Orange focuses on European suppliers such as Nokia and Ericsson in its rollout of 5G in Europe. During the Huawei backlash and the two European telecom suppliers snatching several deals that were earlier “reserved” for Huawei, such a decision is not surprising. However, the CEO pointed out they do not see an issue working with Huawei in Africa, highlighting that the Chinese tech giant is the largest equipment supplier in Africa.
“We’re working more and more with Chinese vendors in Africa, not because we like China, but we have an excellent business relationship with Huawei,” CEO Stephane Richard told Reuters at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday. “They’ve invested in Africa while the European vendors have been hesitating.”
While Huawei has been denying being a “security risk”, several European countries had banned all Huawei equipment, with other countries encouraging telecom to choose European suppliers.
“It’s not only the pressure from the government – we are European citizens and share the concern,” Richard said in an interview on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress. “We can’t ignore the fact that the big Chinese players are close to the Chinese state.”
Richard also expressed Orange’s willingness to use equipment from Samsung and he pointed out it is a good alternative to what he called a “China vs. Europe debate”.
“We’ll need time and additional investment to build new standalone networks with multiple vendors,” Richard said. “The fact is that in Europe today developing 5G networks with Chinese vendors is more and more difficult – we take this as a reality.”
Nokia and the Australian TPG Telecom launched the first 5G standalone network that uses the 700MHz spectrum band. Such low band spectrum towers will allow the 5G networks to cover hundreds of square kilometers with a 5G service that has up to 250 megabits per second speed. This is a big upgrade from the mmWave that covers a much shorter distance.
Among the many benefits of the 700MHz spectrum (apart from the impressive coverage area) is the brilliant outdoor-to-indoor penetration, support of massive machine type communication (mMTC), not much investment required, and AirScale range that supports 700,850, and 900 MHz bands.
“TPG Telecom’s low band 5G will expand our 5G coverage, supporting our goal of reaching 85% of the population in Australia’s top six cities.” Barry Kezik, executive general manager of mobile and fixed networks from TPG Telecom said.“We’re excited to be the first network in the world to realize the true potential of low band 5G SA at 700MHz. TPG Telecom’s low band 5G will expand our 5G coverage, supporting our goal of reaching 85% of the population in Australia’s top six cities by the end of the year and changing the way people and things connect to the TPG Telecom 5G network.”
“Nokia is proud to support another 5G world first,” said Dr Robert Joyce, CTO at Nokia Oceania. “We have a long-standing partnership with TPG Telecom, and we have jointly developed our unique triple-band radio solution specifically for them. Today we get to see the result of that joint effort and collaboration which will deliver premium wide area 5G SA coverage for TPG Telecom and its customers.”
The leader of Hong Kong brushed off the warning by the tech giants such as Google or Facebook that threatened they would quit their presence in the financial hub if the new privacy law is implemented. In the planned update of the privacy laws in Hong Kong, the city wants to target “doxxing” (publishing one’s private information online, to be harassed by others).
As the proposed legislation is quite broad in its wording, the large social media platforms are afraid they could be held liable for users’ content. The concerns were explained in a letter sent by Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Apple, and other companies included in the Asia Internet Coalition.
“Introducing sanctions aimed at individuals is not aligned with global norms and trends,” the letter, made public this week, read.”The only way to avoid these sanctions for technology companies would be to refrain from investing and offering their services in Hong Kong, thereby depriving Hong Kong businesses and consumers, whilst also creating new barriers to trade,” it added.
However, when asked about it, the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam has dismissed the concerns.
“We are targeting illegal doxxing and empowering the privacy commissioners to investigate and carry out operations, that’s it,” she said. “Of course, it would be ideal to relieve this anxiety when we make the legislation. But sometimes it needs to be demonstrated via implementation.”
Lam said the privacy commission in Hong Kong is open to meeting with the representatives of the big tech companies and dealing with their concerns regarding the proposed law. At the same time, she indicated her government will try to proceed with the legislation as soon as possible.
the Federal Trade Commission has charged Broadcam with a monopoly in some types of chips and abusing its dominant position. There are three systems on chip markets where Broadband is said to be dominant – Broadcast STB (set-top box) SOCs, DSL Broadband SOCs, and Fiber Broadband SOCs.
“Today’s complaint reflects the Commission’s commitment to enforcing the antitrust laws against monopolists, including in high-technology industries,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director Holly Vedova. “America has a monopoly problem. Today’s action is a step toward addressing that problem by pushing back against strong-arm tactics by a monopolist in important markets for key broadband components. There is much more work to be done and we need the tools and resources to do it. But I have full confidence in FTC staff’s commitment to this effort.”
“Under the proposed consent order, Broadcom will be prohibited from entering into certain types of exclusivity or loyalty agreements with its customers for the supply of key chips for traditional broadcast set-top boxes and DSL and fiber broadband internet devices,” says the FTC announcement.
BT and Associated British Ports (ABP) together deploy an IoT trial at the Port of Ipswich, trying to see how IoT can be leveraged to improve the logistics and operations processes at the port.
Andrew Harston, Region Director, Wales, and Short Sea Ports, Associated British Ports, said:
“The trial with BT is an exciting step in the Port of Ipswich’s journey to becoming a smart port. The data generated by the Internet of Things solution gives the team in Ipswich the power to manage our resources and assets more effectively, improving our productivity and reducing our costs. Ultimately this trial will help us to provide even better customer service.”
It is becoming more and more popular for the ports in the UK to become so-called “free-ports”. That increases the demand and thus, to maximize the efficiency ports need to turn to emerge technology such as IoT.
Dean Terry, Managing Director, Corporate and Public Sector, BT’s Enterprise unit, commented: “It’s fantastic to see the early success of our partnership with ABP as we support their ambitions for the Port of Ipswich to become a leading smart port In deploying our IoT solution, we’re able to help produce intelligent, actionable insights to support the teams on the ground to monitor equipment in real-time, and make instant, autonomous decisions to speed up the supply chain. This is made possible by combining our award-winning 4G EE network with our deep expertise in sensor technology, network infrastructure, and supply chains.”
The IoT devices installed at the Ipswich port collect data such as time, distance traveled, the route is taken, and the weight of unloaded goods. The data is then visualized on a platform that can let management track the progress and make quick upgrades and decisions based on the data.
OQ Technology confirmed the launch of its first commercial 5G IoT Tiger-2 satellite aboard SpaceX rideshare mission. Tiger-2 is a part of OQ’s planned constellation that will overall consist of more than 60 spacecraft that will offer 5G IoT services in remote areas.
“We have made immense progress this year towards solving the continued lack of terrestrial 5G networks and expensive VSAT satellite costs by growing our constellation and ground infrastructure,” said Omar Qaise, CEO of OQ Technology. “The fourth ESA contract, following the two million Euro contract with ESA in March, shows the continued trust of our partners in our capabilities. And our LEO constellation control center together with the Leaf Space ground station will be the initial cornerstones for operating our future fleet of satellites as well as other third-party missions.”
In addition, OQ technology was just granted a new contract to provide technical design and development of a system that will be able to manage 5G configuration over LEO, MEO, and GEO satellites.
“We can offer a cost-effective 5G network for IoT devices by using both mobile 5G chips and a low-cost infrastructure of LEO nanosatellites,” Qaise said.“This allows us to bring the 5G revolution to countries and communities deprived of the latest developments in the telecommunication industry. OQ Technology is here to change this soon and make digitalization available everywhere.”
On Friday, one of the most sophisticated ransomware attacks targeted the Florida-based tech provider Kaseya. Already during the weekend, we could learn that the scope of interruptions caused by the attack stretches beyond the United States and probably touches hundreds of businesses. Today, the chief executive of Kaseya revealed that up to 1500 businesses around the globe have been affected.
Fred Voccola, the CEO of Kaseya, said it is still not possible to understand and estimate the full impact of the attack as the entities hit were mostly customers of Kaseya’s customers. The hackers responsible for the hijacking of the system demanded $70 million to restore all the data. “We are always ready to negotiate,” a representative of the hackers told Reuters on Monday.
Voccola did not say whether he will negotiate with the hackers. “I can’t comment ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe’,” he said. “No comment on anything to do with negotiating with terrorists in any way,” Voccola said he had spoken to officials at the White House, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security and although the conversations likely circulated around the payment and negotiation dilemma, Voccola has not provided any details. The White House is currently checking if any national risk is posed by the attack. However, Voccola said he is not aware of any organization that holds national importance being hit.
“We’re not looking at massive critical infrastructure,” he said. “That’s not our business. We’re not running AT&T’s network or Verizon’s 911 system. Nothing like that.”
The full impact of the hack will likely unfold today as Americans return from the Fourth of July holiday weekend. But we already know roughly a dozen countries have been affected by the breach, with the most notable being hundreds of Coop supermarkets in Sweden and 11 schools and kindergartens in New Zealand.