Connected America – the reality of delivering Internet for All


Two weeks today Total Telecom’s first foray across the Atlantic becomes a reality as Connected America kicks off in Dallas. Building on a similar model to the award-winning Connected Britain, the event will draw together the entire US connectivity ecosystem to explore the whys and hows of delivering a better connected experience for more than 334 million people.

Ever since President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – the so-called Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, major focus has been on the $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure, billed to ensure all Americans can access affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet – Internet for All.

Connected America brings together over 150 speakers from telecom industry, government, enterprise verticals and more to create the best place to understand the technology, regulation, and investment environment for the rollout of next generation broadband.

Let’s have a look at some of the sessions you won’t want to miss:

Unlocking the Benefits of Internet for All
This will be the closing keynote session on day one and will ask and seek answers for the question of what is the benefit of Internet for All, and in particular address how next-gen connectivity technologies transform the economy and the challenges and roadblocks impeding the delivery of ubiquitous connectivity.

The session is moderated by the Fiber Broadband Association’s Katie Espeseth and features:

  • Scott Woods, Vice President,
  • Victoria Lamberth, Co-Founder and CRO, ZenFi Networks
  • Esther Northrup, AVP Market Expansion, Cox Communications

Is Fiber the Future?
This session explores the advantages and challenges of fibre connectivity and whether the preference for fibre under the IIJA is a good thing. It also examines the shortage of qualified workers for laying fibre and strategies for the middle and last mile. Discussing will be:

  • Kimberly McKinley, Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber
  • Allison Ellis, SVP Regulatory Affairs, Frontier Communications
  • Claude Aiken, Chief Strategy Officer, Nextlink Internet

Revolutionizing Public Transport
Better connectivity is poised to change the face of public transport, so we look at themes including how smart transport is currently, the role of private-public investment in transport infrastructure, and how gigabit connectivity can make public transport safer.

An incredible line-up of speakers includes:

  • Thomas Bamonte, Senior Program Manager, Technology & Innovation, North Central Texas Council of Governments
  • Gregory Elsborg, CIO, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
  • Emily Yates, Chief Innovation Officer, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
  • Anh Selissen, Chief Information Officer, Texas Department of Transportation

This is just a brief snapshot of the sessions and speakers you will find at Connected America. For full information visit the website where you can also register for your ticket and meet our sponsors and partners.

Connected America takes place on March 28-29, 2023 at Irving Convention Center, Dallas. Tickets are free for US-based network operators and US-based public officials.


UZ-SAT chooses Hughes Jupiter System to bridge the digital divide in Uzbekistan

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Lounea and Huawei sign MoU at MWC 2023 to expand 50G PON cooperation


At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 in Barcelona, Lounea and Huawei signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen partnership in 50G PON application in the next five years. The purpose of the cooperation is to provide Finnish consumers with 50G PON, laying a solid foundation for vibrant and smarter communities.

Lounea is one of the largest telecommunications operators in Finland with extensive B2C and B2B ISP/MSP portfolios. It is also the first Finnish telecommunications operator to introduce 10 Gbit/s fiber connections to consumers and expand optical fibers into a nationwide business. “There is a large and growing need for the development of fiber networks, as new uses increase the performance requirements for data transmission. Fiber is superior to other network technologies. The equipment updates will allow the power of the home-built fiber connection to be accelerated to new speeds over and over again,” according to Riku Päärni, Lounea’s Technology Director.

Lounea’s Technology Director Riku Päärni

Lounea’s cooperation with Huawei is based on next-generation optical technology, which will enable Lounea to strengthen its technological leadership and competitiveness in the market, benefiting more users. Ira Keskitalo, Director of Huawei Enterprise Business Group Finland, expressed anticipation towards further cooperation, “Huawei is proud of enabling Lounea to take yet another step in providing unbeatable end user experience, while expanding their footprint in Finland. 50G PON is a natural step from Lounea’s 10G PON commercial service, providing Lounea’s end users a digital highway for future services.”

Huawei launched the industry’s first commercial 50G PON solution at MWC 2023. As a next-generation PON technology defined by ITU-T, the 50G PON effectively supports 10Gbps Everywhere. Huawei’s innovative 50G PON solution provides a TCO-effective evolution path for operators to upgrade their networks to 10G.

Richard Jin, President of Huawei’s Optical Business Product Line, said, “Huawei will join hands with global operators to accelerate network upgrade and the application of new technologies, helping operators continuously expand their business boundaries and seize opportunities with ultimate user experience to lead the future.”

About Lounea

Digital service company Lounea is Finnish connection builder. As a local operator, we develop the attractiveness of municipalities and cities by bringing reliable connections to bring joy to life and efficiency to operations. Our solid business consists of optical fiber, business services and mast operations.
At the core of Lounea’s culture are reliable services: a reliable network and helpful and expert customer support. Responsible operation is a central value for us. For our customers, it means reliability, expertise and transparency. For our owners, it means building a sustainable business and shareholder value. Lounea has almost 18,000 owners, and we are committed to developing their owner value in the long term. For more information, please visit Lounea online at:

About Huawei

Founded in 1987, Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. We have 195,000 employees and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions, serving more than three billion people around the world.
Our vision and mission is to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. To this end, we will work towards ubiquitous connectivity and inclusive network access, laying the foundation for an intelligent world; provide diversified computing power where you need it, when you need it, to bring cloud and intelligence to all four corners of the earth; build digital platforms to help all industries and organizations become more agile, efficient, and dynamic; and redefine user experience with AI, making it smarter and more personalized for people in all aspects of their life, whether they’re at home, on the go, in the office, having fun, or working out. For more information, please visit Huawei online at:

Two More Reasons to Switch to Bicom Systems

We recently shared a few of the “Lesser-known Benefits of Partnering with Bicom Systems” and today we have two more ways that Bicom Systems allows you to take back the control of your business, your solution, and your customers.

We do not target end users

In speaking with incoming partners, we have heard that some vendors ask for information about your end users and then target them directly. This does not align with a reseller model that focuses on partnership and integrity.

Reclaim the control of your business and customers with a white label platform. Bicom Systems gives partners a fully developed and supported platform with zero branding, so you can take it to market as your own. You control: pricing, marketing, and customers. We are happy to support you in every step, but will not ask for any customer details or advertise ourselves through branded solutions. (Learn more in our blog post The Benefits of a White Label Provider.)

As a committed participant in the reseller channel, Bicom Systems would never attempt to sell directly to your customers. Also to that purpose, we never publish prices on our website – so as not to compromise your ability to earn a higher margin. (Learn more in our blog post Why We Don’t Publish Our Prices.)

The bottom line is that Bicom Systems is partner-centric with a strong focus on integrity and mutual trust. As we always say, your success is our success.

We still support on-site solutions

The future is in the Cloud, there is no doubt about it. But we recognize that not every business or organization is prepared to make the move yet, if at all.

Small on-site call centers, for example, may prefer an on-site PBX that gives them complete control over their servers and data. Organizations with sensitive data may be compelled by law to keep everything in-house. Large enterprises may have the budget to invest up front and hire a dedicated IT team to do all of the work themselves.

Whatever the situation may be, we want the choice to be yours, not restricted by the deployment models you have (or don’t have) available. Stop turning away or losing customers that need a traditional solution. PBXware is available in both hosted and on-site environments. Learn more on our Deployment page.

And let’s not forget about the opportunity that comes with having on-site customers. You can gently market your hosted solution to your own customer base, offering a slow and flexible transition phase if that’s what the customers needs. Let’s bring customers on board rather than turning them away.

It all comes down to control

Who is holding the reins to your business and your future – yourself or your provider? Bicom Systems prefers to give all control to our partners, cheering you on from behind the curtain. If this appeals to you, contact us today so we can start a conversation.

Cerillion’s Louis Hall on OSS and Monetisation

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Huawei expands its MFS business

Developing Telecoms met recently with Huawei FinTech and Mobile Financial Services (MFS) team, to discuss the development and growth of Huawei’s MFS business. The interview started by asking them to outline how Huawei first entered the MFS market.

HUAWEI: Huawei first became involved in MFS when it won a contract with a famous African operator. After the growth of mobile finance business, the operator was developing its own software for mobile financial services. The branding of mobile finance for this operator was already the leading name in mobile phone finance by 2010/11. The service was feature phone based, but included some early kinds of purchasing services. The operator was also in the process of establishing services in other markets and executed an RFP for a technology partner to support this goal and Huawei was chosen.

Huawei believes it won the RFP based on 2 strengths, its R&D and Engineering capability to deliver a platform with the performance, reliability, flexibility and availability which establish the foundations for the trust you need from customers and businesses to successful grow a FinTech ecosystem. Secondly Huawei’s commitment to deliver the platform and migration to support the needs of the largest and most complex market, Kenya, where Huawei has now successfully supported a decade of growth.

DT: What success has Huawei’s MFS platform achieved?

HUAWEI: Since development of the current FinTech products started in 2012, Huawei’s has deployed its platform across all of the existing mobile finance markets and expanding across Asia and Africa to more than 30 markets.

Based published mobile financial services data, and Excluding China and PayPal, Huawei’s platform supports more than 50% of the global MFS market activity. In total Huawei’s FinTech solutions now provide access to digital financial services to over 400 million people in markets worldwide who otherwise would not have this benefit.

DT: What markets has Huawei MFS entered recently?

HUAWEI: One of Huawei’s most recent customers is telebirr in Ethiopia.  Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, with over 120 million people. Prior to 2019 around 55% of the population did not have access to financial services due to lack of bank coverage, and the total mobile financial services user base in Ethiopia was around 10 million people.

telebirr was launched by Ethio Telecom with help from Huawei in May 2021 with the aim of meeting the government’s target of increasing financial inclusion. telebirr is aiming to achieve this by enabling rapid financial transactions throughout Ethiopia including the most remote areas. The service also aims to transform the overall economy and help Ethiopia move towards becoming a cashless society and improve cash flow throughout the economy.

Another advantage that telebirr is offering is to provides a more ‘democratic’ digital ecosystem, in particular giving women control over their own earnings and finances, enabling payments to be made directly to women, and for women to control their own savings and finances. The DNA behind successful FinTech services is to design your business, product and service from the beginning to meet everyone’s needs rather than to target specific segments.

DT: What results have you seen so far?

HUAWEI: telebirr has gained the support of over 98,000 agents, of which 30%+ are run by women, 25,000 merchants, 18 banks and over 52 public and private institutions. It is currently serving 28.6 million users and making a total value of over 288 billion Birr transactions.

Moreover, financial inclusion in Ethiopia has increased by around 15%, and is well on the way to achieving the government’s five year target in under two years. Mobile Financial service adoption is accelerating globally and this has benefited telebirr and Ethiopia. If you compare with another market launched in 2018, a similar level of growth took over 3 years to achieve. When telebirr launched, it registered a million customers in two weeks; it has taken other successful markets a year or more to do that.

DT: What factors have contributed to this impressive growth for telebirr?

telebirr and Ethiopia was able to benefit from Huawei’s extensive experience in MFS in other emerging markets. Rather than stating with a simple point-of-sale (POS) transactional service, it started with dozens of new services based on the App, USSD and SMS, including send and receive money, deposit cash, remittance, pay bills, withdraw cash, fundraising, bulk disbursement, ticket purchase, utility service, passport service, digital lottery, donate, credit loan, micro loan, saving services and more. Other bank players in Ethiopia only provide basic services and, moreover, there are interconnection issues between different banks.

To do this telebirr and Huawei had to gain the backing of the regulators who were willing to accept things like holding biometric information electronically and registering customers electronically by matching faces and ID cards. This is actually more reliable than giving the information to a physical person.  telebirr is now in the process of launching new payment services and financial services, on top of the basic wallet. It’s quite an incredible journey to see that take off in one of the most populous countries in North Africa.

DT: What are the advantages of using Huawei’s MFS solutions?

HUAWEI: The first point I want to emphasise is that our solution is modular. The core product consists of the wallet, the finance services and the payment services.  We then add enabling technologies for API integration, APP development frameworks, and for the future, AI Technologies to enable smarter more secure ecosystems. A Key benefit of Huawei’s extensive R&D and software portfolio means that we can easily obtain and pre-integrate such world class enabling technologies to accelerate the growth and development of FinTech ecosystems.

The second point is that, in line with our product strategy, one product is the basis for all of our implementations, adapted, scaled and integrated for the needs of each market. For example, the needs of our largest market like Kenya drives key standards for performance, security, availability and reliability to the highest possible levels. The benefit of the single product strategy is a reduction in complexity and more focussed and effective use of software development investments, this also means that for all of our customers there is one product from the largest to the smallest market.

DT: How will MFS evolve in the future?

HUAWEI: The service models for MFS are now mature, and China in particular has had them for a number of years. Operators in emerging markets understand that to be successful in MFS it is now about more than the technology. Operators need to help their customers become more digital. Success will be dictated by the quality of the total package of services operators provide, and about developing super-apps to deliver these to compete with OTT service providers.

DT: Thank you for sharing your insights.


AT&T suffers data breach impacting 9m customers


The operator has informed affected customers after a marketing vendor suffered a security failure in January

The breach exposed Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) for around nine million wireless customers.

CPNI includes details on the type of services customers receive, the amount paid for those services, and the eligibility for customers to upgrade; it does not include sensitive information, like credit card information or Social Security numbers.

AT&T say that the CPNI accessed was “several years old”.

The operator communicated to customers that the data had been compromised as a result of a breach of an unnamed vendor’s security systems – a vulnerability that has since been fixed.

Nonetheless, the AT&T email encouraged customers to add “extra security” password protection to theirs account at no cost.

AT&T notes that the breach has been reported to the relevant authorities, telling customers that this report does not include any specific details about their accounts.

Massive data breaches are already becoming worryingly common in 2023, with AT&T’s rival T-Mobile admitting that account information had been compromised in for 37 million customers back in January.

How is the US telecoms market evolving in 2023? Join the discussion at this year’s live Connected America conference in Dallas, Texas later this month

Also in the news:
Viasat–Inmarsat merger gets provisional greenlight from CMA
Verizon shuffles executive team in search of growth
Ericsson to pay DoJ $206.7m over bribery scandal

Airtel Africa signs up for Nokia’s iSIM SaaS

Press Release

Airtel plans to roll out Nokia iSIM Secure Connect technology in several African countries over the next year

Nokia today announced that Airtel Africa has selected its iSIM Secure Connect technology, in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model, as part of the operator’s wider digitalization efforts to offer its customers 5G and IoT-based on-demand services.

Nokia’s telecom SaaS, integrated SaaS SIM (iSIM) Secure Connect technology provides communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises with the capability to securely manage machine-to-machine and consumer device subscriptions for eSIM- and iSIM-enabled devices.

Integrated SIM (iSIM) and embedded SIM (eSIM) will give Airtel the ability to remotely store and manage multiple subscriptions for authenticating users and devices on its network.
Nokia has already supported Airtel in deploying iSIM Secure Connect earlier this month in Nigeria. Airtel now plans to roll out the solution in ten other African markets over the next year.

Nokia and Airtel completed a successful pilot project at the end of 2022.

Razvan Ungureanu, Chief Technology Officer and Information Officer at Airtel, said: “We are very pleased to expand Airtel and Nokia’s long-standing partnership in this new area. Nokia iSIM technology gives us new network capabilities, including in the areas of verification and authentication services, while allowing us to offer new network service that our customers are increasingly looking for.”

Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central, East and West Africa (CEWA) Market Unit at Nokia, said: “We envision a world that is more productive with the digitalization capabilities we build for our operator customers. Nokia iSIM capabilities enable faster service delivery and time-to-value to our customers. With these capabilities, we are proud to help Airtel in Africa expand its digitalization efforts and provide its customers with new on-demand services, transforming their lives.”

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Also in the news:
Viasat–Inmarsat merger gets provisional greenlight from CMA
Verizon shuffles executive team in search of growth
Ericsson to pay DoJ $206.7m over bribery scandal