AT&T and Nokia deploy LTE private network at major Mexican container terminal

The private network concept isn’t waiting for 5G, as Nokia and AT&T Mexico have just shown by deploying what they call the first industrial-grade LTE private network in a maritime terminal in the country.

The network, deployed at the APM Terminals terminal in Puerto Progreso, Yucatan, uses the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) platform. It is powered by AT&T Mexico, which has added Nokia’s flagship enterprise capabilities, focusing on private networks capabilities, to its private cellular networks solutions.

The network will, says Nokia, provide broadband connectivity, lower latency and greater network predictability in piers and yards, adding that it will reliably and securely connect hundreds of workers, sensors, equipment and vehicles across an area of 11.5 hectares.

Described as a high-performance, end-to-end private wireless network and edge computing platform designed to meet the mission-critical needs of asset-intensive industries, Nokia DAC provides industrial-grade wireless connectivity for the new APM Terminals Yucatán virtualized terminal operation system. However, it will also enable future use cases such as remote and autonomous crane operations within the piers and yards, as well as new capabilities.

Nokia explains that APM Terminals can now expand its digitalization and automation vision enabled by robust, reliable and flexible private LTE networks built on licensed spectrum.

APM Terminals Yucatán is the only container terminal in Puerto Progreso, a deepwater port and a key logistics location for the Yucatán peninsula and south-eastern Mexico.


New Saudi cable launches in Red Sea

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Jio prepares to plough $25bn into 5G


The operator says that initial 5G services will be launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai in October

Today, disruptive Indian telco giant Reliance Jio has announced that it will invest $25 billion to rollout a nationwide standalone 5G network by the end of 2023.

Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani said that the company would seek to capitalise on the $11 billion-worth of 5G spectrum it acquired at last week’s auction by rolling out the technology as quickly as possible across the country.

The company’s 5G network will initially be rolled out in the major metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by October this year, with nationwide coverage to follow.

“Subsequently, we plan to increase the Jio 5G footprint month after month. By December 2023, which is less than 18 months from today, we will deliver Jio 5G to every town, every taluka, and every tehsil [administrative districts] of our country,” said Ambani. “We will use our combined wireless and wireline assets to cover 3.3 million square kilometres, India’s total land mass, with fibre-quality broadband, connecting even those parts of the country where satellite technology was the only option.”

“Jio 5G services will connect everyone, every place and everything with the highest quality and affordability. We are committed to making India a data powered economy even ahead of China and US,” he added.

In his speech, Ambani also announced the launch of Jio’s AirFiber, a fixed wireless access solution that Jio suggests could be the answer to India’s woefully low fixed broadband penetration rates.

“With single device JioAirFiber, it will be real easy to quickly connect any home or office to Gigabit-speed internet. With the simplicity of JioAirFiber, hundreds of millions of homes and offices can be connected to ultra-high-speed broadband in a very short period. With it, India can rank among the top ten nations, even for fixed broadband,” he explained.

India recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence from British rule on the 15th of October, with many onlookers speculating that Jio – and perhaps rival Bharti Airtel – would be seeking to launch commercial 5G services concurrently. However, both Jio and Airtel missed this date, hence Jio now aligning its launch date with Diwali on October 24th.

Earlier this week, Airtel’s chairman Sunil Mittal also announced that Airtel would seek to launch 5G services in the month of October.

Airtel is expected to launch 5G in 13 cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune – during the first phase of its rollout.

How will the launch of 5G reshape the Indian telecoms industry? Find out from the experts at this year’s live Total Telecom Congress

Also in the news:
UK drone ‘superhighway’ cleared for take-off
FCC wants additional $3bn to ‘rip and replace’ Chinese network kit
Telefonica and Ericsson demo 5G network slicing for diverse use case

Reliance Jio shows it means business with multiple 5G announcements

In a flurry of announcements underlining its plans for an aggressive 5G rollout in India, the giant operator Reliance Jio has revealed partnerships with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Meta and Intel.

The deals with hardware and software giants Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Cisco are related to plans for its 5G network in the country. As India’s Economic Times points out, Reliance Jio is bringing in new telecom vendors to deploy the 5G network, whereas Samsung was the sole technology provider for the 4G version.

Jio and Google, meanwhile, plan to develop an ultra-affordable 5G smartphone (having worked together on a 4G phone in the past) and are working together on Google Cloud. Jio is working with Microsoft to expand Azure ecosystem cloud-enabled business applications and solutions for small and medium enterprises in India. It is also working with Intel for cloud-scale data centres and 5G edge locations. 

In another cloud-related deal, Qualcomm has said it will work with Jio on cloud-native 5G infrastructure in both the millimetre-wave and sub-6GHz spectrum to develop an ecosystem that can serve India and beyond. Jio is also working with Meta for immersive technology-based use cases.

Much of this is, not surprisingly, being pitched as supporting Indian innovation and manufacturing. Mukesh Ambani, chairman of parent company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has been widely quoted as saying: « Jio is privileged to have some of the world’s leading technology players as strong partners in the ‘Made in India’ 5G collaboration. »

The standalone 5G Jio network is to launch in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by late October this year, with a phased rollout that will cover the entire country in 18 months by December 2023.


India’s DoT makes progress with RoW rules as 5G rollout gets closer

In another attempt to speed up mobile services rollout across a vast country, an effort made even more urgent given the imminent arrival of 5G, India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has again amended the rules concerning right of way (RoW).

Given the likelihood that 5G will require many more small cells and much more use of street furniture, RoW application procedures for small cells have been simplified. Telecom licensees will be able to use street infrastructure to deploy telecom equipment at a specified cost: Rs150 (US$1.88) per year in rural areas and Rs300 (US$3.76) per year in urban areas.

There will also be a nominal cost of Rs100 per year (US$1.25) to install overground optical fibre on street furniture. However, operators do not require government approval for an agreement with private property owners for installation of telecoms infrastructure. Administrative fees have also been rationalised.

In addition the IT systems of all states or union territories and major infrastructure ministries such as railways and highways have been integrated with the central RoW portal to make India ready for 5G launch.

Called Sugam Sanchar, the centralised RoW portal offers a single interface for ISPs, mobile operators and infrastructure providers to apply for right of way (RoW) approvals for installing infrastructure

These ongoing improvements have apparently already resulted in a reduction in average time for approval of RoW applications, from 435 days in 2019 to 16 days in July, 2022 according to the telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Welcoming the changes, SP Kochhar, director general of the operator-led group COAI, was quoted by India’s Economic Times as saying: « Access to the existing infrastructure, deployment of new infrastructure, and the high cost involved in it were major challenges the telecom sector always came across which will now be eased down with new RoW rules, »  

This does seem like a major achievement on the part of the DoT, especially when one considers that in early 2020 many states were simply ignoring RoW rules.


Zambian operators set up lobby group 

Three Zambian mobile operators, MTN Zambia, Airtel Networks Zambia and Zamtel, have reportedly set up an industry lobby group called The Global System for Mobile Association of Zambia (GSMAZ).

its aim is to influence the efficient development and sustained growth of a strong and vibrant mobile telecommunications sector in Zambia. Digital inclusion, it points out, will promote infrastructure and economic growth, boost employment and productivity across the country, and enhance access to essential services like healthcare and education.

MTN Zambia chief executive officer and current GSMAZ chairperson Bart Hofker said at the launch that the formation of the GSMAZ will promote effective cooperation and partnership among operators and various stakeholders.

Meanwhile Airtel Zambia managing director Apoorva Mehrotra pointed out that a siloed, ‘competitive’ approach among operators is giving way to a more collaborative approach to advance industry concerns and to elevate the profile of mobile telecommunications in Zambia.

The GSMAZ says it will collaborate with regulator ZICTA, local government and other organizations to promote policies that encourage the growth of the digital economy.

But for how much longer will Zamtel be in a healthy enough state to be part of this group? Recent reports indicate that the country’s president, Hakainde Hichilema, has appointed a working group to determine the future of the state-run, financially troubled operator.

This working group will, according to ITWeb Africa, investigate the viability of the company and suggest appropriate action to save it. While there is little other detail, this is encouraging news for an operator that reportedly needs a recapitalisation of some US$265 million in order to survive, and has no funds with which to modernise or even maintain its current infrastructure.

For the moment then, it seems that a sale is not likely. Given its debts, however, a convincing rescue plan for Zamtel still seems a long way off.


STC launch the Red Sea’s first subsea cable

Press Release

stc announced the landing of “Saudi Vision Cable”,  the first high-speed cable in the Red Sea through its first landing station in Jeddah

With the name inspired by the KSA Vision 2030, the Saudi Vision Cable spans 1,160,000 meters and it is fully owned by stc Group. The Saudi Vision cable is the first ever high-capacity submarine cable in the Red Sea region that will provide seamless connectivity up to 18Tbps/fiber pair with a total of 16 fiber pairs through four (04) landings in Jeddah, Yanbu, Duba, and Haql. 

Marking this event, Eng. Olayan Bin Mohammed Alwetaid Group, CEO of stc, said: “This achievement reflects our comprehensive strategy that aims to diversify the Group’s investment opportunities and support digital transformation in the KSA by boosting the digital infrastructure. The cable will provide digital connectivity services for corporates and individuals between the KSA and the continents by building a regional digital hub connecting the continents of the globe and help meet the needs of companies and customers via an integrated digital ecosystem”.  

“Saudi Vision Cable provides communication between several international information centers. It also achieves the raising level of the unified optical fiber platform that is cost-efficient and flexible, and provides access – low latency – to all international cables in the landing stations and information centers of the stc Group”, he added.  

The new cable will be one of the submarine cables that will be linked to the MENA Hub connecting three continents of the globe, leveraging the strategic location of KSA. This will help to enhance investment in international communication services and data centers.  

This cable will join 16 cables invested by stc that are positioned between the east and the west of the KSA. Saudi Vision cable will provide a higher and more reliable internet service to meet the increasing demand for communications and internet at the local and international levels. It will also allow all of the country’s sectors to obtain high-speed internet services, including education, healthcare and business which will, in general, provide economic and social benefits. 

How will the Saudi Vision Cable affect the connectivity landscape throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East? Join the submarine cable community in discussion at Submarine Networks EMEA 2023

Also in the news:
UK drone ‘superhighway’ cleared for take-off
FCC wants additional $3bn to ‘rip and replace’ Chinese network kit
Telefonica and Ericsson demo 5G network slicing for diverse use case