SK Telecom wins big at the 2019 Global Telecoms Awards

In the year that 5G finally made its commercial debut, Korean operator SK Telecom’s fast start helped it win three awards at the 2019 Glotels.

As well as being voted the best operator of 2019, SK Telecom also won awards for 5G implementation and BSS/OSS transformation. Not content with its three wins, SK Telecom was also highly commended in the consumer IoT and fixed network categories, bringing its awards total on the night to five. Other notable performers were Huawei, with two wins and a highly commended, and ZTE with one win and two highly commended.

“I feel confident in saying that this was the strongest set of entries to the awards we’ve had yet,” said Telecoms.com Editor Scott Bicheno (pictured above with Chang-min Park of SK Telecom), who hosted the awards alongside comedian Miles Jupp and was also one of the judges. “Our judges had a really tough job choosing between so many great products, services and projects this year and for that I thank them. The fact that so many entries were highly commended shows how close the scoring was. My congratulations to the winners and thanks everyone who contributed to our best awards yet.”

Here’s the full list of winners:

5G Implementation Excellence  

Winner – SK Telecom: World’s First 5G Commercialization

 

Advancing Artificial Intelligence               

Winner – Telefónica: Aura

Highly Commended – Nokia: AI as a Service for CMCC Hainan

 

Automation Initiative of the Year             

Winner – Huawei: AUTIN

 

Best 5G Innovation         

Winner – Vodafone Germany: Automotive Factory of the Future

Highly Commended – China Mobile, China Southern Power and Huawei: Smart Grid 5G Slice Operation and Monetization

 

Best Digital Transformation Project        

Winner – Infosys and Vodafone UK: Digital Platform

Highly Commended – Singtel: Unboxed

 

Best Operator    

Winner – SK Telecom

Highly Commended – Reliance Jio Infocomm

 

BSS/OSS Transformation Excellence        

Winner – SK Telecom: OSS Evolution for E2E integration and 5G Business

 

Connecting the Unconnected     

Winner – Ufinet: Rural connectivity case studies

 

Consumer IoT Initiative of the Year         

Winner – O2 and Accenture: Making UK homes smarter energy users

Highly Commended – SK Telecom: V2X Service Enabler (VSE)

 

Digital Transformation Innovation          

Winner – BT: The Digital Business Marketplace

Highly Commended – Netcracker: Digital Transformation Solution

 

Fixed Network Evolution             

Winner – Turkcell: Customer Oriented Failure Prioritization and Complaint Management

Highly Commended – SK Telecom: Giga Premium 10G Residential Broadband Internet Service

 

Ground-breaking Virtualization Initiative            

Winner – AT&T: Edge Solutions

 

Industrial IoT Initiative of the Year          

Winner – Dialog Axiata: Affordable and Purpose-built IoT Solutions for Industries in Emerging Markets

Highly Commended – ZTE:  ZTE NMVP Solution

 

Innovating in the Cloud 

Winner – MYCOM OSI: The Assurance Cloud

 

Managed Services Innovation of the Year            

Winner – Ericsson and Telenor: Common Delivery Center for innovative Managed Services model

Highly Commended – Saudi Telecom Company: STC Fixed Network Customer Operations Service transformation

 

Mobile Device Innovation           

Winner – Reliance Jio Infocomm: JioPhone

 

Mobile Money Mastery 

Winner – AsiaHawala and Comviva: AsiaHawala powered by mobiquity Money

 

Most Innovative Cloud Service  

Winner – Tata Communications Transformation Services: Cloud Networking and Security as a Service

Highly Commended – Red Hat: Red Hat open hybrid cloud technologies

 

Project Delivery Perfection         

Winner – ZTE: ZTE for China Mobile ‘He-Fetion’ Project

Highly Commended – X by Orange: X by Orange with Red Hat

 

Security Solution of the Year      

Winner – Mobileum Signalling Firewall

Highly Commended – CUJO AI: AI-powered cybersecurity technology

 

Telecoms Transformation            

Winner – Huawei: NFV-SDN based telco cloud technology initiative

Highly Commended – ZTE: 5G Slicing Wholesale Solution for New B2B2C Business Model

 

Telecoms.com goes analogue

The Telecoms.com editorial team have rashly decided to forgo the safety of the digital environment to face their audience in person.

This foolhardy step into the unknown takes the form of Telecoms.com LIVE, which will be a morning of one-to-one interviews with operators on industry topics close to their hearts, as well as panel discussions on the UK telecoms scene and how to cash in on 5G. The aim is to translate Telecoms.com’s distinctive, gloves-off journalistic style to a live environment, so while the editors won’t be pulling their punches, we also won’t be reporting what is said to encourage open conversation.

“We’re not afraid to tackle any topic and call out any company at Telecoms.com and people seem to appreciate that,” said Telecoms.com Editor Scott Bicheno. “We also get great feedback on the relaxed conversational style of our podcast, so we thought it was time to open ourselves up to the public. This is the first time we’ve tried anything like this, but we have an excellent list of guest speakers and some compelling topics, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Telecoms.com LIVE will take place on the morning of 7 November at the Montcalm Marble Arch in central London. Scott and Jamie Davies will be doing the interviewing and moderating and will be actively encouraging the audience to get involved. It’s free to attend so if you fancy a morning honest industry chit-chat then just register here and we look forward to seeing you.

Did you make it onto the 2019 Glotel Awards shortlist?

It’s that time of year when even Brexit and the Ashes pale into insignificance compared to the unveiling of the Global Telecoms Awards shortlist.

There were a record number of entrants this year, resulting in a record number of shortlisted entries. The incredibly diverse range of participants, products and projects illustrates what a vibrant industry telecoms is at it embarks on the 5G era. In acknowledgement of that new awards were created, not just for 5G but AI, digital transformation and IoT, as well as an opportunity to crown the operator of the year for the first time.

“Over a hundred entries were shortlisted across 21 categories this year, which is great to see,” said Scott Bicheno, Editor of Telecoms.com. “The start of the 5G era has presumably contributed to this increased desire for industry recognition and the great response we received shows the new categories hit the mark. As ever I’m really looking forward to hosting the awards evening later this year, which looks set to be a top night.”

So, are you still in with a shout of winning? To find out, cross your fingers and click here. Now it’s over to the panel of independent judges to do the tricky job of picking the winners, which will be announced at the awards evening on 7 November.

Telecoms industry shocked as Glotel Awards entry deadline extended

Marketing departments across the telecoms world have been caught flat-footed with the shock decision by the industry’s flagship awards event to extend its entry deadline.

The maverick team running the Glotel Awards have once more proved they don’t play by nobody’s rules and will roll the dice whenever they damn well feel like it. If you ignore the previous five years there’s literally no precedent for this   move and we can only assume it was prompted by desperate pleading from those companies that, for whatever reason, had yet to get their acts together.

“Look, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve kind of been on the lash for most of June,” Marketing Manager Denis told Telecoms.com, on condition of anonymity. “There have been a few festivals and once the weather picked up I had to have a few all-dayers didn’t I? By the time I’d sobered up the original deadline had passed to I’m really grateful to the Glotel team for this. I’m going to get my entry out of the way so I can properly get on one in July.”

The good news for Denis and anyone else that has been ‘too busy’ to give their company the chance at life-changing industry recognition is that they now have until 12 July to get it done. Just click here, follow the very simple instructions and then you’ll be free to do whatever else occupies so much of your time with a clear conscience. You know it makes sense.

Enhanced privacy protection is now at the core of Apple

At its 2019 developer conference Apple introduced new measures to strengthen user privacy protection, as a point of differentiation from other big tech companies.

Apple is hosting its 2019 edition of Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in California. On the first day the company announced a number of new products including the iOS13, new version of MacOS (called “Catalina”), the first version of iPadOS, and WatchOS6. At the same time, iTunes, which has been around for nearly two decades and has been at the vanguard of Apple’s adventure into the music industry, is finally retired. At the event, Apple also unveiled the radically revamped Mac Pro. Instead of looking like a waste basket (as the 2nd generation did), the new top end desktop computer looks more like a cheese grater.

One key feature that stood out when the new software was introduced was Apple’s focus on privacy, in particular the new “Sign in with Apple”.  It will be mandatory for apps which support 3rd-party log in to also include this new option, in addition to, or as Apple would like it, instead of, Facebook and Google. Although Tim Cook, in a post-event interview with CBS claimed “we’re not really taking a shot at anybody”, Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief, was pulling no punch when introducing the feature. After showing the current two options to sign in apps or websites, he declared Apple wanted to offer a better option, which will be “fast, easy sign-in without all the tracking.”

In practice this means Apple will act as a privacy interlocutor. A user can log in to an app or a website with his or her Apple ID. Apple will then verify the email addresses, make dual-factor authentication, then send developers a unique random ID, which Apple asks developers to trust. Users can also choose to use TouchID or FaceID for authentication. In addition to the Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Watch, etc.), and it can also work on browsers built on other platforms (Windows, Chrome, etc.).

In addition to Sign in with Apple, the company also updated its Maps, so that apps that track users’ location would need to ask for permission every time it is activated. On MacOS, all apps need to request permission to access the user’s files on the computer, while Watch users can approve security requests by tapping the button on the side.

Although both Facebook and Google have been talking up about their focus on privacy, these companies have an intrinsic conflict of interest: their business model is built on monetising user data. Apple, on the other hand, makes money by selling products and services. Therefore, it is in Apple’s own interest to guard user privacy as close as possible, to enhance current and future consumers’ trust. By making privacy protection its differentiator, or as TechCrunch called it, delivering “privacy-as-a-service”, Apple is elevating the match to a level Google, Facebook, and other internet companies will be challenged to match.

Telecoms industry set to finally get the recognition it deserves

Hard working telecoms industry professionals are set to finally emerge from decades of bleak anonymity thanks to the new, improved Glotel Awards.

The 2019 version has just been launched and is open for entries. Now in its seventh year the event is single-handedly responsible for plucking telecoms vendors, service providers and the general ecosystem from obscurity and putting them on the pedestal they richly deserve. It would only be slightly hyperbolic to say the awards change people’s lives.

But the awards team passionately believe you can never have too much philanthropy, so have spent every waking moment since the triumphant 2018 event racking their brains for ways to improve it further, seemingly impossible though that might seem. So this year it has a bunch of new categories a shiny new brand and many other juicy surprises up its sleeve.

“Last year was a great laugh, with Russel Kane warming up the room perfectly and a really broad selection of winners from across the industry,” said Scott Bicheno, Editor of Telecoms.com. “I don’t know how Sophie and her team do it, but somehow they’ve managed to raise the bar once more and I’m counting the days until the next Awards evening already.”

“I don’t know what the telecoms industry would do without you lot, if I’m honest,” said some bloke Bicheno met in the pub. “I’ve just about had it up to here with vendors and operators not getting the recognition they deserve so I’d like to buy you all a drink. Just pints mind, no cocktails or nothing like that.”

All that remains is for you, yes you vendor whose always complaining about how nobody has heard of you, to go to the Awards site and see which category you think best fits what you do. The 2019 Glotel Awards will be the biggest and best yet and, quite frankly, you can’t afford not to be involved.

GSMA set for crisis meeting at MWC over Huawei bans – report

GSMA Director General Mats Granryd has reportedly been writing to members to set up a meeting on the side-lines of Mobile World Congress to discuss what to do about further Huawei bans.

Huawei might be facing pressure from governments around the world, but if reports turn out to be true, diminished support from the operator industry’s own lobby group would be a significant dent in the confidence of the vendor. As Huawei is one of the firms which contribute financially to GSMA events with astronomically large stands and branding presence, it certainly would be a brave move from the association.

According to Reuters, Granryd has proposed the implications of further Huawei bans should be discussed as an item on the agenda at the next board meeting. The meeting will take place during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of the month.

The GSMA has been evasive in its response to the claims, confirming there will be a board meeting (there always is), though the agenda has not been set. The meeting will of course discuss all the most pressing points in the telco industry, of which the Huawei situation has to be one, but there is no confirmation of specifics.

That said, it would not be unusual for such a discussion to take place. The GSMA board is made up of representatives from 25 of the worlds largest operators, the majority of which must be twitchy about the relationship between Huawei and the Chinese government. The US, Japan and Australia have already banned Huawei from contributing to 5G infrastructure, while more are putting very stringent conditions around participation.

Germany is one which is considering upping the security requirements to protect itself, however, Chinese companies which meet the criteria would still be allowed to do business. However, these protections might well be superseded by broader sweeping rules from the European Commission banning any companies from ‘suspect’ countries from providing kit for critical infrastructure.

Another Reuters report quotes German leader Angela Merkel as calling for guarantees from Huawei that it won’t hand over data to the Chinese state. Everything about Huawei will make executives nervous at the moment. To make such vast investments the telcos need certainty and consistency with policies and regulations. Huawei is the polar opposite of these concepts.

The focal point of the anxiety is the National Intelligence Law, which kicked into effect during July 2017. The law gives Chinese intelligence agency an extraordinarily wide remit to monitor both domestic and international ‘threats’, as well as the power to coerce domestic Chinese companies to aide its ambitions.

Here are a couple of the relevant articles from the original text passed into law:

  • Article 12: National intelligence work institutions may, according to relevant state regulations, establish cooperative relationships with relevant individuals and organizations, and commission them to carry out related work.
  • Article 14: National intelligence work institutions, when carrying out intelligence work according to laws, may ask relevant institutions, organizations and citizens to provide necessary support, assistance and cooperation.

For such a complex and powerful document, the language and remit are worryingly broad and vague. The law itself only has 32 articles, compared to hundreds of articles and even more clauses of immensely precise text in other countries.

Considering the GSMA named Huawei as the winner of the associations ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award’ for 2018, everything that has taken place since the last event puts it in a difficult position. If the GSMA decides on a general policy of distancing its members from Huawei in anticipation of further bans, that would be a significant further blow to the Chinese vendor.