Journey to a more connected North: UK connectivity roundup February 2024


A selection of the most important connectivity stories relating to the North of the UK, with expert guest commentary provided by Dominic Beresford-Webb, Senior Conference Producer for Connected North at Total Telecom.

“In a series of transformative developments, the UK’s digital landscape is witnessing significant progress in connectivity initiatives.

Rural communities are getting the service they deserve with B4RN’s 400Gbps and strong progress being made by EE with the Shared Rural Network in North Yorkshire. EE built 40 masts over the last two years, giving a vital boost to 4G coverage for the area. With 1,600 rural locations upgraded under the SRN so far, EE have claimed to be ahead of other operators on this project.

We’ve seen some welcome news on Project Gigabit with both Quickline Communications and CityFibre winning significant investment to bring full fibre across rural premises. East Yorkshire-based ISP Quickline have £60 million in funding to build infrastructure that supports rural communities and drives economic growth. Meanwhile, CityFibre won a whopping £394 million worth of contracts for over 200,000 rural premises.

Hopefully this means a bright future for underserved rural communities to help address the digital divide, improve global competitiveness and increase investment.

It’s exciting times at CJ Founds Associates, with Lynne Wilson joining the team and bringing valuable insights from her time at the Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group. This adds yet more expertise to a firm that’s well versed in assisting local authorities implement their digital strategy.

If you want to hear more from Quickline, CityFibre and CJ Founds Associates join us in Manchester for Connected North this April 22-23. These and many more organisations will be sharing their knowledge and networking with peers.

This includes Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Office for CityFibre; Sean Royce, Chief Executive Officer for Quickline Communications; Chris Founds, Director & Founding Partner for CJ Founds Associates.”

Learn more about Connected North 2024

AWS lands generative AI partnerships with CelcomDigi and Maxis

At Mobile World Congress 2024, Amazon Web Services (AWS) signed separate deals with Malaysian telcos CelcomDigi and Maxis to collaborate on generative AI solutions to improve network operations and develop use cases.

Under a Letter of Collaboration signed by CelcomDigi and AWS on Tuesday, CelcomDigi will establish an AI Sandbox using Amazon Bedrock, a managed service that offers high-performing foundation models from AI companies via a single API, along with a broad set of capabilities to build generative AI apps with security, privacy, and responsible AI.

CelcomDigi’s AI Sandbox will be set up in its Innovation Centre for its employees to experiment with, innovate, and implement generative AI solutions for use cases that will be integrated into the operator’s operational platforms for HR, customer service, legal and finance, among others. The two companies will also collaborate to train CelcomDigi employees on AI capabilities.

CelcomDigi also intends to develop and implement Bahasa Melayu language algorithms with Amazon’s Bedrock Large Language Models (LLM), Amazon Titan and Anthropic Claude, that have deep learning algorithms that can process natural languages. CelcomDigi will use these LLMs to develop solutions such as chatbots to communicate with its linguistically and culturally diverse customer base.

CelcomDigi and AWS will also explore deploying personalised generative AI use cases for Malaysian businesses across industries and consumers. 

“With AWS, CelcomDigi can drive new use cases at scale with AI-optimized infrastructure and the flexibility to choose fit-for-purpose foundational models through Amazon Bedrock,” said Pete Murray, Country Manager for Malaysia at AWS. “This collaboration also accelerates the delivery of new innovative AI services to Malaysian enterprises.”

Meanwhile, AWS also announced a new collaboration with Maxis to accelerate innovation in generative AI and 5G use cases for Malaysian enterprise customers.

Under the collaboration, the two companies will focus on leveraging advanced 5G and generative AI technologies to develop business use cases, targeting the retail, manufacturing, logistics and financial services domains.

The collaboration also targets Maxis’ internal processes, focusing on customer service enhancements and support offerings for enterprise customers to make faster, compelling and more effective business decisions.

Maxis said the combined efforts of generative AI integration and LLMs trained to support Bahasa Melayu will also help accelerate the digital transformation journey for more Malaysian businesses.

The AWS deal is Maxis’ second generative AI announcement at MWC2024 this week. On Monday, Maxis said it had expanded its strategic collaboration with Google Cloud by integrating generative AI into its workflow and service offerings.

Maxis and Google Cloud will also develop applied generative AI solutions for data analytics and cybersecurity, and extend generative AI skilling opportunities and learnings to Maxis employees.

Maxis said it also plans to extend its experience with integrating generative AI to its community programmes, eKelas Usahawan and eKelas, to upskill individuals and school students.

Google Cloud also signed an agreement with Indonesian telco Telkomsel at MWC this week under which the operator will integrate enterprise-grade generative AI  into its operations and core product offerings for consumers and businesses.


Huawei launches telecom foundation model at MWC in industry first


On the first day of MWC Barcelona this year, Yang Chaobin, Huawei’s Board Member and President of ICT Products & Solutions launched the telecoms industry’s first Telecom Foundation Model, an artificial intelligence model for operators 


The model’s objective is to offer vital artificial intelligence technologies for service innovation which will improve the efficiency of operators, enhance network productivity and help commercialise 5.5G. 


Huge innovation in the telecoms industry has led to more productive networks, but this has come with increased service demands, which are only set to increase in the future. Therefore, the services provided by the operators will need to improve user experience and operation and management of their platforms as the number of users increases. 5.5G is able to deliver enhanced network capabilities to support an even more diverse range of services.  


Therefore, the model will help provide key intelligence technologies that support service innovations, improve operational efficiency, improve the productivity of the network and hit 5.5G intelligence objectives. 


Specifically, the model will help operators go intelligent by supporting intelligent natural language interactions for different roles to improve employee knowledge and efficiency. It also provides intelligent agent applications for different operations scenarios, which analyse and break down complex processes and orchestrate operation solutions to ensure user experience and satisfaction. Some typical example of application will include: AI assistants (in the case of agile service providing), and will also help improve employee knowledge and efficiency.


“The Huawei Telecom Foundation Model leverages Huawei’s strengths in intelligent technology and offers two types of applications: role-based copilots and scenario-based agents,” said Chaobin in his keynote speech. 


“It will help carriers empower employees and improve user satisfaction, which will, in turn, improve network productivity,” he continued. 


Bringing his speech to a close, Chaobin called upon industry partners to increase the applications of this intelligent technology via rough collaborative industry promotion, talent training, and innovation. He also encouraged the telecom foundation model sector to ensure best practices and bring more intelligence to the telecom industry. 

Vietnam starts blocking 2G-only phones ahead of 2G shutdown

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Bruce Xun from Huawei: Embracing digital intelligence and accelerating operations transformation with telecom + AI

Press Release

[Barcelona, Spain, February 27, 2024] During MWC24, Huawei, together with global carriers, industry organizations, and academics, held the Digital Operations Transformation Summit 2024 to discuss how carriers accelerate digital operations transformation. Mr. Bruce Xun, President of Huawei’s Global Technical Service Dept, said, “The ’Telecom + AI’, formed with telecom cognition, digital and AI, will bring new operations mode and new service growth to carriers, creating tangible business value.”

Bruce Xun, President of Huawei’s Global Technical Service Dept.

Telecom + AI: Accelerating Transformation from Telco to Digital Intelligent Service Provider

AI has become a technology hotspot sweeping the globe. When it comes to unleashing the full potential value of AI, carriers have unique advantages based on ubiquitous connections, over 100 billion data records per day, billions of entries of telecom knowledge, decades of telecom operations experience. “Digital twin + AI” can create new operations mode, and “Converged data + AI” can drive new service growth. The in-depth collaboration of telecom and AI will accelerate carriers’ transformation to digital intelligent service providers.

 Digital Twin + AI: Creating New Operations Mode Along the Customer and Employee Journey

Along the customer journey, each operation activity focuses on customer experiences, which drives the evolution of the operations mode from network- oriented to customer- and service-oriented. Every customer can perceive the value brought by the new mode. Huawei has developed the innovative SOC + NOC intelligent O&M solution with a carrier in Asia Pacific, where O&M activities were planned, prioritized, and executed according to the actual impact on the customer. This has reduced traffic loss by 15% on average.

Along the employee journey, the new operations mode will empower every

employee by providing each of them Copilot to help them improve both efficiency and effectiveness. Mr. Xun shared many Copilot best practices for different employee roles. For example, broadband on-site and cross-selling engineers can use Copilot to accurately locate faults and solve 85% of the issues within 30 minutes. This improves the success rate of cross-selling by 10%. With assistance of Copilot, agents in the Contact Center can gain an in-depth understanding of customer requirements and satisfy customers with one-stop solution. This improves the FCR (first call resolution rate) by 30%.

Converged Data + AI: Driving New Service Growth from Connectivity as well as Beyond Connectivity

Connectivity services are the core business of carriers. Utilizing AI to analysis massive operation data, carriers can provide personalized, precise, and convenient services, maximize network monetization through multi-dimensional product design and on-demand marketing. In addition, new growth ecosystems can be built through new products, platforms, and devices. For example, intelligent payment and micro-finance solution can improve the performance of carriers’ mobile finance services. In 2023, Huawei supported a carrier in Ethiopia doubled the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of Mobile Money and increased the total revenue by seven times.

Mr. Xun emphasized that “Telecom + AI” will accelerate carriers’ digital operations transformation. Telecom cognition is the core which includes telecom knowledge, decades of experience, and best practices. Digital is the cornerstone which includes high-quality data with suitable platforms and sufficient digital talent. AI is the accelerator which contains discriminative AI and GenAI. Combination of the three key factors will accelerate digital operations transformation and achieve breakthrough to create enormous business value.

Over the past year, Huawei has released best practices of digital operations transformation for various scenarios by working with global carriers. These practices have supported carriers achieve operations excellence, deliver ultimate user experiences, and increase the revenue from new services. Currently Huawei Services has over 20,000 experts, including more than 200 AI and data scientists. In the transformation projects, we supported global carriers implemented data governance from single-domain data to converged data to digital twin, as well as knowledge governance from documents to knowledge to high-quality corpus and vector data base. Huawei continues to make long-term investments in digital operations transformation in which we will explore, innovate and build best practices in hundreds of transformation projects.

MWC Barcelona 2024 will be held from February 26 to February 29 in Barcelona, Spain. During the event, Huawei will showcase its latest products and solutions at stand 1H50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1. With the 2024 commercial launch of 5.5G, Huawei is collaborating with operators and partners around the world to pursue exciting new innovation in networks, cloud, and intelligence. Together, we will drive 5G business and foster a thriving industry ecosystem, creating a new era for intelligent digital transformation. For more information, please visit:

Lynk Global and Telefónica test Sat2Phone in Argentina

Direct-to-phone satellite operator Lynk Global announced on Monday it has successfully tested its Sat2Phone technology in Argentina for the first time in collaboration with Telefónica.

Lynk Global said the test was conducted in Patagonia – said to be one of the most remote regions in the world – via Telefónica’s business units Telefónica Argentina and Telefónica Global Solutions (TGS).

Lynk said its Sat2Phone technology – which enables mobile users to connect to the network direct to its constellation of LEO satellites using standard mobile phones – could enable Telefónica to offer its subscribers enhanced geographic coverage, including extending rural coverage in areas where it is nearly impossible to deploy terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure, such as jungles or mountainous areas.

In addition, the Sat2Phone technology could be used as a back-up to ensure service resilience and provide always-on connectivity to IoT networks.

“[Patagonia] welcomes thousands of visitors every year and thanks to this collaboration, we can help them stay connected via Lynk’s satellite constellation using their existing Movistar subscription,” said Lynk’s chief commercial officer Daniel Dooley.

Gustavo Arditti, satellite business director of TGS, noted that Argentina is the second largest country in South America and the eighth largest in the world by land area, with a diverse geography including the Andes mountain range in the west.

“Given the vast expanse of Argentina, the use of Sat2Phone will ensure that people can stay connected using any unmodified phone, which is a cornerstone of our strategic roadmap,” he said.

Lynk currently has three LEOsats in orbit to support its Sat2Phone service, out of a planned constellation of 5,000. The company says it has regulatory approvals in at least 30 countries to offer the service, and has signed commercial agreements with 36 MNOs around the world. Lynk currently offers cell broadcast (emergency) alerts, and two-way SMS messaging, and intends to launch voice and mobile broadband services in the future.

Lynk has two more satellites scheduled for launch in the first quarter of this year via SpaceX. The company currently aims to have enough satellites for global coverage in 2025.