Displaying items by tag: BT
Ofcom moves to ban sale of carrier-locked phones in the UK
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has banned phone carriers from selling locked phones starting December 2021 in an effort to give people greater autonomy when it comes to switching between providers.
While operators such as Sky, Virgin, Three and O2 already sell unlocked phones, some of the UK’s other operators like Vodafone, Tesco and EE, still sell phones that need to be unlocked manually before users can switch to a different carrier.
According to Ofcom, the banning of this practice comes as a set of new measures are about to be launched. The telecoms watchdog found that more than a third of people in the UK who were against switching operators said that one of the contributing factors to their decision was that they were put off by having to go through the process of unlocking their phone. In the UK, unlocking a phone costs £10 and it can often lead to delays, loss of service or other issues.
Ofcom’s connectivity director, Selina Chadha, said, “We know that lots of people can be put off from switching because their handset is locked. So we’re banning mobile companies from selling locked phones, which will save people time, money and effort – and help them unlock better deals.”
In reference to this, Vodafone said that it was “ready to implement these changes when they come into force”. BT also said that it was willing to “work with Ofcom to comply with the guidelines”.
In an official statement by Ofcom, the regulator disclosed that it plans to also simplify the switching process for broadband customers.
“We’re also making it easier to switch between broadband networks. At the moment, customers switching between providers such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk on Openreach’s copper network can simply contact their new provider, who will manage the switch from there,” the statement read.
While the UK has moved to ban the sale of carrier-locked mobile phones, the US is on the other end of the spectrum; it is still quite a common practice in the US.
Nokia extends strategic partnership with UK operator
Nokia has announced the extension of its long-term strategic relationship with BT into the 5G arena, following its selection as a 5G RAN vendor for the UK operator.
As part of the deal, which will make Nokia BT’s largest equipment provider, Nokia will provide equipment and services at BT radio sites across the UK, helping to evolve BT’s radio access network to 5G and supporting its goal of maintaining the UK’s best network.
BT’s Nokia-powered network, which currently includes Greater London, the Midlands and rural locations, will be extended to also cover multiple other towns and cities across the United Kingdom. This enhanced Nokia footprint will support BT’s commitments to the UK government around the use of High Risk Vendors (HRVs) in UK network infrastructure.
Nokia will supply its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations and Nokia AirScale radio access products. These solutions will enable BT to build on its existing network leadership in the UK to deliver connectivity and capacity benefits to consumers at ultra-low latencies as well as reducing complexity and increasing cost efficiencies. The deal will also see Nokia optimize BT’s 2G and 4G networks and work alongside BT on the development of the OpenRAN ecosystem.
As part of BT’s network transformation, the operator will also utilize Nokia Software’s ng-SDM and NetAct network management platform, supporting the network evolution to 5G. These build upon the existing network architecture and provide an immediate cornerstone and single platform for new 5G-based services. Nokia will also provide its state-of-the-art Cell Site Gateway product providing key backhaul connectivity.
Nokia will also provide digital design and deployment for a faster time to market as well as optimization and technical support services.
Philip Jansen, CEO, BT Group said,“Digital connectivity is critical to the UK’s economic future, creating jobs and underpinning sustainable growth. That’s why BT is making game-changing investments in full fibre and 5G. In a fast-moving and competitive market, it’s critical we make the right technology choices. With this next stage of our successful relationship with Nokia we will continue to lead the rollout of fixed and mobile networks to deliver stand-out experiences for customers.”
Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO, Nokia, said, “I am delighted that BT has extended its partnership with Nokia on 5G RAN, making Nokia BT’s largest infrastructure partner. Our two companies have collaborated for over a quarter of a century in order to deliver best-in-class connectivity to people across the United Kingdom. We are proud to support BT’s 5G network evolution and look forward to working even more closely together in the years to come.”
BT customers to benefit from new Microsoft Azure Networking services
BT has announced a range of new managed network services for multinational customers deploying applications and IT services in Microsoft Azure.
BT expands its cybersecurity capabilities in Europe
BT has made new investments in its cybersecurity capabilities in Europe with the aim of further enhancing its position as a leading provider of security services in the region and globally. The company announced the opening of a new Cyber Security Operations Centre (Cyber SOC) in Paris, as well as upgraded facilities, new customer solutions and recruitment at its existing SOCs in Madrid and Frankfurt.
BT’s global network of Security Operations Centres and 3000 security specialists protect it against 125,000 cyber-attacks per month, and offer solutions to consumers, governments and businesses, including some of the world’s best known brands. BT’s latest round of investments will offer increased protection for customers who are looking to combat escalating levels of cybercrime while deploying new technologies based on the Cloud and the Internet of Things. Customers will benefit from real-time intelligence sharing across BT’s global network of SOCs, coupled with in-country capabilities such as support in local languages and compliance with data protection regulation.
The Paris Cyber SOC will provide advanced incident detection, threat intelligence, orchestration and automation services. It has also been specifically designed to meet both PDIS and European NIS Directive requirements, which would allow BT to qualify as a ‘Security Incident Detection Service’ provider. Under French law, organisations that manage Critical National Infrastructure can only contract with security providers that have the PDIS certification, and BT is currently going through the qualification process.
Kevin Brown, Managing Director of BT Security, commented: “Our ongoing expansion of our security capabilities in Europe shows BT’s commitment to providing industry-leading services to customers in the region. We are increasingly regarded as the most trusted experts to mitigate cyber threats, and we’re continuing to invest and recruit in order to meet demand. Our services are designed to meet the most demanding standards in the world for cyber-attack detection, as well as the rapidly-evolving requirements of our customers.”
As part of the expansion, BT’s Cyber SOC in Madrid will soon relocate to new, purpose built facilities, with around 50 cyber experts due to be based at the centre. The enhanced Cyber SOC will offer Cloud SIEM (Security Incident & Event Management), allowing its cyber experts to detect and remediate cyber-attacks of all types, and to generate on-demand compliance reports with real-time status of organisational risk posture.
In addition, as of July 2019, BT’s Frankfurt SOC will also offer Cloud SIEM services directly to customers, further harmonising BT’s portfolio of services across Europe and worldwide. BT’s Frankfurt SOC opened in 2017, providing a broad range of security services to regional and international customers, while ensuring their data is handled and stored in compliance with German regulation.
Juniper Networks to power BT unified cloud solution
Juniper Networks has been chosen by British Telecommunications (BT) to deliver its Network Cloud infrastructure initiative.
This deployment will pave the way for BT’s Network Cloud roll-out - and also enable a more flexible, virtualized network infrastructure that can deliver the technology requirements of various lines of business for BT from a single platform.
BT will also use this platform to create new and exciting converged services bringing mobile, Wi-Fi, and fixed network services together. Furthermore, with the implementation of the Network Cloud infrastructure, BT will be able to combine a range of currently discrete network functions and deploy them on a cloud infrastructure that is built to a common framework and shared across the organization, throughout the UK and globally.
These include services across BT’s voice, mobile core and radio/access, global services, ISP, TV and IT services, as well as a host of internal applications, thereby cutting operational expenditure and significantly simplifying operations throughout the organization.
This project will enable BT to implement a range of new applications and workloads and evolve the majority of its current ones including:
- Converged fixed and mobile services rollout to consumers and businesses.
- Faster time-to-market for network services ranging from internet access delivery to TV and business network functions
- Improved voice and video delivery and scalability.
To accomplish the evolution toward a more agile, virtualized network, BT is investing in a range of Juniper solutions across various tenants within the BT network, including:
- Dynamic end-to-end networking policy and control for telco cloud workloads using Contrail Networking
- Cloud operations management using AppFormix
- Highly scalable and flexible spine and leaf underlay fabric using the QFX Series
Neil McRae, Chief Architect at BT said, “BT is a global leader in ultrafast services, with growing demand from our ultrafast broadband services and ultrafast 5G services and has the perfect opportunity to combine several discrete networks into a unified, automated infrastructure. This move to a single cloud-driven network infrastructure will enable BT to offer a wider range of services, faster and more efficiently to customers in the UK and around the world. We chose Juniper to be our trusted partner to underpin this Network Cloud infrastructure based on the ability to deliver a proven solution immediately, so we can hit the ground running. Being able to integrate seamlessly with other partners and solutions and aligning with our roadmap to an automated and programmable network is also important.”
“As a renowned global service provider, BT is a shining example of how to evolve networks to become more agile. By leveraging the ‘beach-front property’ it has in central offices around the globe, BT can optimize the business value that 5G’s bandwidth and connectivity brings. The move to an integrated telco cloud platform brings always-on reliability, along with enhanced automation capabilities, to help improve business continuity and increase time-to-market while doing so in a cost-effective manner,” said Bikash Koley, Chief Technology Officer at Juniper Networks.
US campaign against Huawei faces resistance from European operators
The US-led campaign against Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei is now facing resistance from a number of major European operators.
Washington has been engaged in a sustained offensive attack on China’s major telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE over the last number of years.
However, that has heightened in recent months, with the United States labelling Huawei and ZTE as a severe threat to national security. US President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order later this week which would prohibit both Chinese vendors from being involved in wireless networks in the US.
In addition to this, lobbyists on behalf of the US convinced its allies Australia and New Zealand to prevent either company from participating in the rollout of their respective 5G networks. The US is now pressuring Europe to follow suit. Earlier this week, comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added further fuel to the ongoing saga when he said that countries that use Huawei technology could hurt their relationship with the United States.
However, that has been met with resistance from major European operators who have discovered that they will have to fork out more to replace equipment from Huawei and ZTE, and that a blanket ban on both companies would significantly impact its ability to launch 5G services in the next twelve months, as Huawei is the global leader on 5G equipment.
A number of prominent executives from Europe’s top operators told The Wall Street Journal that Huawei hardware was much better than the rest on offer and often cost less; not using it could well mean that Europe would lag Asia and countries in other regions that use gear from Huawei for their 5G rollouts.
In addition to this, Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone Group, was quoted as saying in January that a total ban on the carrier's use of Huawei equipment “would have significant financial cost, would have significant customer disruption and would delay 5G rollout in several countries”. The UK's four major wireless operators — Vodafone, BT Group, Telefonica and CK Hutchison Holdings' Three — were all against a ban.
But it is not only big carriers who prefer Huawei equipment, with Jersey Telecom, a publicly-owned company operating in the Isle of Jersey, also expressing a preference for Chinese equipment.
The company sought bids from both Chinese and Western companies in 2014 for its wireless network and while Huawei's bid 20% below the lowest Western offer, ZTE was 40% cheaper. Jersey Telecom chief executive Graeme Millar went with ZTE, and commented: "I have a genuinely high-class, low-cost supplier with ZTE, who haven’t let me down yet.”
The US stands accused of using Huawei and ZTE as political pawns in the ongoing trade war standoff between Washington and Beijing.
British operator announces that CEO will depart
British telecommunications operator BT has announced that current CEO Gavin Patterson will depart from his role later in the year after weeks of speculation regarding his position.
Patterson has been subjected to intense scrutiny from BT shareholders who expressed concern at the direction of the group under his leadership. Chairman of BT Jan du Plessis confirmed the CEO’s departure via a statement, citing that recent results indicated that it was clear change was needed to address the slump.
In the statement, du Plessis said, “The board is fully supportive of the strategy recently set out by Gavin and his team. However, the ‘broader reaction’ to recent results has demonstrated to Gavin and me that there is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy".
BT announced last month that it plans to axe over a thousand jobs in a bid to offset cash problems and also confirmed it would relocate its headquarters and move out of its famous London base. BT has in recent years launched a costly push into broadcasting live Premier League football matches, hurting the group's bottom line.
In addition to launching BT Sport during his five years as CEO, Patterson also purchased mobile operator EE from Deutsche Telekom and Orange in a £12.5-billion ($16.8-billion, 14.2-billion-euro) deal.
Following Friday's announcement, BT's share price was down 0.44 percent at 202 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down 0.8 percent overall in early deals.
"Since 2016, BT's share price graph resembles something of a black run; pretty much always on a downward trend and with a few nasty cliffs here and there," noted George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. Shareholder confidence has followed the share price down," he added.
BT aims to reduce carbon emissions 87% by 2030
British telecom giant BT said it aims to reduce its carbon emissions 87 percent by 2030, setting itself on a path to help limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. As part of the transition to a low carbon business model, BT had previously set itself a target in 2008 of an 80 percent reduction of its carbon emissions by 2020.
After reaching this target four years ahead of schedule, BT has set a new 2030 target, approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, which is aligned with the most ambitious aim of the COP21 Paris Agreement. This aim seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it even further to 1.5°C by the end of the century.
To meet this ambitious goal BT will be targeting innovative ways to further reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, for example through the adoption of low carbon vehicles in its fleet and reducing the carbon intensity of buildings.
“The role that technology can play in creating a more resource efficient world is both profound and exciting,” said BT Chief Sustainability Officer, Niall Dunne, announcing the target. “The benefits of leading climate action extend to our customers, suppliers and people. Our commitment to this 1.5°C target will help create partnerships and coalitions that continue the unstoppable momentum enabled by the Paris agreement.”
As part of its wider energy program, BT has made strides in reducing its end-to-end carbon footprint which has helped to deliver a total of £221m of energy savings since 2009/2010. BT is also well on its way to achieving its commitment to purchase 100 percent renewable electricity for its operations by 2020, where markets allow, the company said, sourcing 82 percent renewably last year.
In addition, BT promotes energy efficiency by providing products and services that enable its customers to reduce emissions. As part of its 2020 ambitions, BT aims to help its customers cut their carbon emissions by at least three times its own end-to-end carbon impact. So far it has reached 1.8 times, enabling customers to avoid 10 million tons of carbon in 2016/2017, up 32 percent on the previous year.
These carbon-abating products and services represented £5.3bn, or 22 percent, of BT’s total revenue last year. BT’s commitment to reducing its carbon intensity could help the UK Government meet its carbon reduction targets. International climate negotiations will continue at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, this November.
EE threatens to take UK regulator to court if it doesn’t reverse 5G spectrum cap
UK telecommunications incumbent EE has threatened Ofcom with legal action if it doesn’t reverse its decision to set a spectrum cap on forthcoming 4G and 5G auctions. EE has been backed by rivals O2 UK as the fallout from the decision shows no signs of abating.
The UK regulator announced in July that it intended to impose a cap of 340MHz on all operators for spectrum expected to be usable by 2020, which was proposed in an effort to reduce the share held by EE, which is the country’s largest asset holder, and its parent company BT.
At the time of Ofcom’s announcement, both 02 UK and 3 UK expressed that the measures proposed fell short in their expectations, whilst EE believed the strategy was ‘unnecessary’. In addition to this, it was disclosed earlier this month that 3 were preparing to initiate a legal challenge, stressing that the regulator had failed to address competition concerns raised by the operator.
3 UK has been a long-term critic of the division of spectrum in the UK, and has vehemently opposed the current policy approach in relation to spectrum allocation. It has previously threatened legal action if Ofcom refused to address the market dominance currently enjoyed by both BT and Vodafone with its auction rules.
Analysts have now predicted that with legal challenges now likely, the 4G and 5G auctions for spectrum which were due to take place at the end of 2017, it will now be delayed until the issues raised have been resolved either through dialogue between Ofcom and the operator or through the courts. EE accepted the regulators decision on 4G, but stressed it wanted to be able to participate in the auction for the most of up-to-date 5G spectrum.
A spokesman for EE said it was reluctant to take legal action, but feels it has no other option to do so, citing that it had an obligation to protect its customers’ mobile experience. The EE representative said, “In response to 3’s action, we have made the difficult decision to challenge the proposed structure of the next auction of mobile spectrum. We need to protect our customers’ mobile experience, and help build the platform for the UK to have the highest quality 5G networks.”
Reports in The Financial Times suggest that Ofcom have declared that any legal action will put the future of mobile data at risk – and issued a warning that it could potentially have a knock-on effect on the rollout of 5G services.
O2 CEO Mark Evans declared that legal action would inevitably delay the auction, and criticized the approach that has been taken. The CEO said, “Legal action will inevitably cause delay to the auction and gives no thought to the impact and harm this will have to UK customers, companies and economic growth. This country desperately needs more mobile airwaves. It is possible to hold the 2.3GHz auction now and grant immediate access to the newly-available spectrum. Ofcom can and must act,” he added.
BT lights the way for safe cycling in Manchester with IoT project
BT announced the launch of a new project with See.Sense, an innovative cycling company from Northern Ireland, to provide sensor-enabled and connected bike lights to up to 180 cyclists across Manchester as part of CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator.
The See.Sense light sensors, known as ICONs, connect via Bluetooth to an app on Android phones. The app will transmit anonymised data on the cyclist’s environment – such as the quality of the road surface, light levels, as well as cycling routes, collisions and near-miss events - back to BT’s Internet of Things (IoT) data hub.
Many thousands of IoT data feeds are collated by the BT hub and presented in a uniform way for innovators and city planners working with CityVerve. By acting as an information broker, the hub lowers the barrier to participation in the IoT ecosystem. Easy access to the data will help developers turn innovative ideas into applications in many areas, including planning ways to improve cycling infrastructure, and creating policies to promote cycling in the city.
See.Sense were crowned winners of a BT competition last year and received a £15,000 prize fund to help with their project. The award-winning lights are designed specifically to be daylight-visible, enhancing cyclist safety in all lighting conditions, while flashing brighter and faster in riskier situations such as round junctions and roundabouts. They were also recently voted ‘Best Bike Gadget’ by readers of road.cc, the UK’s biggest online cycling website.
Professor John Davies, Chief Researcher of Future Technologies at BT, said: “This is an exciting project to be working on with Manchester City Council and CityVerve. There are wide range of opportunities emerging from the real-time data collected from the lights and other sources stored in our platform, bringing valuable insights for the city’s infrastructure and policies, and helping develop a safer and better cycling experience for the people of Manchester.”
Irene McAleese, Co-founder of See.Sense, said: “This project is providing us with an opportunity to have a closed trial for data collection at scale, and show how our unique crowdsourced data can be used to reduce barriers to cycling, particularly around safety. Better data will help to make cycling more visible to policy makers, and allow cities to take adaptive, data-driven decisions. This will also provide the opportunity for improved integration of cycling into the city’s mobility plans.”
The app which tracks the lights is only available via Android phones. The trial will run from the 14th of August until the end of the CityVerve project, and the cyclists can keep using their lights at the end of the trial.