Reality sets in as operators get ready for decade-long transition to SDN, NFV

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2014 has been predicted by some as the year that both Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation become a reality in the European telecoms market.

Hyped as the cure-all for immobile telco networks, last year saw some of the first large scale trials of virtual products, whether it was Telefónica partnering with NEC in Brazil to bring part of its customer premises equipment to the cloud, or Deutsche Telekom looking to SDN/NFV as a means of making its business more nimble and preparing it for ever increasing traffic growth.

European telcos urged to cooperate on 5G to regain tech supremacy

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Vendors and operators need to cooperate on software and systems to regain Europe's prominence in the telecoms market with the advent of 5G, a conference has heard.
 
Delegates at Huawei's 5G@Europe summit, held in Munich on Monday, were told that a range of technologies – including MEO satellites using Ka-Band Multibeam, massive MIMO, densification of small cells and intercell coordination – could be used to help deliver the expected thousand-fold surge in capacity that 5G will bring. 
 

Efficient LTE spectrum utilisation in Europe: Which method is best?

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Carrier aggregation might be a long way off in Europe, but as some markets begin to mature and operators start looking to acquire more blocks of spectrum for their 4G LTE networks, efficient spectrum utilisation will soon be coming into vogue in Western Europe.

North America, often a model for European operators to follow, is finally making progress with LTE-Advanced.

Ericsson CTO: 5G is about integrated wireless technologies, not just speeds

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As European operators continue to roll out 4G LTE networks, the wider telecoms industry is already thinking ahead about 5G.

Although there are no confirmed standards for this new technology, the European Commission pledged €50 million in February to fund 5G research and people are starting to outline their vision of a 5G future.

Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO of Ericsson, says the vendor has spent the last three years working on its vision of 5G and believes that the industry is missing a trick if it chooses to focus on fast speeds as the key benefit of this next gen technology.

LTE roaming: The challenges to getting it right

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                     At the LTE World Summit 2013 this week, one of the hot topics was LTE roaming and the myriad technical, operational and strategic issues that need to be solved in order for operators to offer enhanced mobile broadband services.

Victoria Nikiforova Foley, LTE Business Development Manager at Vodafone Roaming Services, set the scene: “This year, we’re talking about 10 billion megabytes of usage in Europe generated by roamers, and that’s projected to go up to 17 billion within four years,” she said.

Revealed: CTOs on the most overrated wireless technology

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The telecoms industry spends so long talking about the future that it is easy to forget the so-called gamechanging technology that is understandably left, unlamented, in the past. For every iPad, there’s a BlackBerry Playbook. For every Sony Walkman, there’s a Panasonic MiJockey.

When Mobile Europe spoke to Europe’s leading chief technology officers, as well as their achievements and what excited them in the industry in 2014, we also wanted to know what they didn’t miss or are sick of hearing about. Here’s what they thought.

O2 launches mobile broadband

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O2 has launched its HSDPA-based O2 Mobile Broadband service today - available for existing customers. Using a USB modem, customer will have access to the internet either through O2 mobile network or the The Cloud's 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots. Princes will start at £20 a month for 3GB worth of included UK data usage on the O2 network & "unlimited" Wi-Fi every month.

O2 launched its home broadband offering last October and joins Vodafone, 3 UK, Orange and T-Mobile in offering mobile broadband.

"Getting the customer experience right is crucial. We are confident our broadband services complete a great communication experience for our customers however they want to connect to the internet, whether that be at
home, on their mobile phone or laptop." said Sally Cowdry, Marketing Director, O2 UK. "Our O2 Mobile Broadband product exclusively allows O2 customers to access the internet wherever* and whenever they want with clear and predictable pricing."

Customers can choose to take out an 18-month price plan for GBP20 a month with a USB Modem included free of charge, or pay GBP20 a month for a rolling one-month package plus the one-off cost of the USB Modem (GBP119.99). Both price plans give customers  Wi-Fi access and 3GB per month worth of inclusive UK data (on the O2 network).

O2 Mobile Broadband will automatically connect customers to the fastest network available - GPRS, EDGE, 3G and HSDPA, or via the 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots available through The Cloud.

As for HSDPA coverage and performance, O2 says broadband speeds of up to 1.8 megabits per second  will be "the standard" across the whole O2 network. From June, O2 says it will begin increasing this to up to 3.6 megabits per second across the network, as it undertakes a £500 million network upgrade.

New Blackphone co-founder promises security and privacy

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Silent Circle and Geeksphone have developed a new security-based smartphone that even they won’t be able to break into.
 
Blackphone, which claims to be world's first smartphone that “prioritises the user's privacy and control”, is the brainchild of Phil Zimmermann, who made his mark on the security industry in 1991 when he released PGP, the most widely-used email encryption software in the world.
 

SpiderCloud debuts scalable 3G, LTE small cell as CMO questions rivals

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SpiderCloud Wireless has launched a new dual-mode enterprise small cell as its CMO questions whether rivals have what it takes to succeed in this “overhyped” segment.
 
The vendor’s new solution features an integrated 3G and LTE baseband system-on-a-chip (SoC), together with software that can control over 100 self-organising and multi-access 3G, Wi-Fi and LTE small cells by using an enterprise’s existing ethernet LAN installation.

Apple debuts world-first 64-bit handset with iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C

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Apple has launched the highly anticipated iPhone 5S and 5C devices that feature a new OS, 64-bit architecture, high-end camera and fingerprint scanning technology.
 
Besides introducing a brand new mobile OS with iOS7, the iPhone 5S comes with the new A7 mobile processor that is essentially as powerful as a desktop computer, making it the first ever 64-bit smartphone in the world.

Nokia keeps NSN, HERE and promises advanced tech with Microsoft deal

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With Nokia selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft for €5.4 billion, including a 10-year patent licensing agreement, the Finland-based vendor will now focus on three core technology areas.

Network infrastructure business Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), geo-location mapping business HERE and developing advanced technologies are to form the core of the 150-year-old company moving forward.

Qualcomm: Nokia’s Lumia 1020 is just the beginning for the future of chips

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By Mary-Ann Russon

Last week, Nokia unveiled a new smartphone featuring a world-first 41-megapixel camera powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chip.

However, research from IDC shows that camera resolution is far down the list of features that consumers look for when purchasing a smartphone.

According to a survey of smartphone owners in 25 countries, camera resolution ranked 15th behind audio voice quality, battery life, device security and browsing.