Episode 18

COVID, TELUS, FAA and Helium


January 10th, 2022

1 hr 6 mins 4 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Inside LIving on the Edge episode 18, Jason and Dan welcome in the New Year, and a new COVID variant, with personal insights on the impact of COVID, The Economist’s take on the telco industry, what’s up with 5G and airports in the US and Helium’s bold ambitions.

Episode Links

  • Will the cloud business eat the 5G telecoms industry? — Then there are the political and financial barriers. European governments fret that America’s spooks will have even more access to their country’s networks if these run in American clouds (Europe has none of its own and is understandably even warier of Chinese ones). Carriers, in Europe and elsewhere, fear losing business to the tech giants like Amazon, Google or Microsoft, which have already skimmed most of the value generated by 4g mobile technology. “If all this is not financially interesting for [telecoms firms], they will try something else,” says Michael Trabbia, chief technology officer of Orange, a French mobile operator. However this plays out, the telecoms business will look very different a few years from now. The contest for control of the telecoms cloud, and particularly its “edge” (tech speak for what remains of the base station) will only heat up. Whoever is in charge of these digital gates will have the fastest access to consumers and their data, the main currency in a world of new wireless services, from self-driving cars to virtual-reality metaverses. The cloud businesses have the technological edge for now, and will try to eat as much of wireless networks as possible. The operators have relationships with customers, know how to manage networks and own the radio spectrum. Eventually, cloud providers and network operators will probably come to some kind of agreement. In the new world of mobile telecoms, neither can do without the other.
  • “No crystal ball, but clear indications” says Samer Geissah — The evolution towards a cloud centric approach for 5G solutions and connectivity solutions will continue to accelerate and that is the challenge for connectivity service providers like TELUS. The challenge is to ensure keeping our customers in focus thus whether it is in health domain, or on the agriculture side, we are working together with our partners to ensure that we have an end-to-end view on how we conserve our costumer, ensuring that the costumer demands are the right demands for us to deliver again those objectives and ensuring that we do so, in an agile manner because the cloud world is very different from the traditional telco connectivity world. We are taking those steps towards this direction to ensure end-to-end coordination and at the end, the customer gets a service from a dependable secure by design, privacy by design which are the anchor design principles for any telco service. The team worked very hard and we depended not just on our core expertise, architects and engineers, we also have the privilege to enable and empower graduate trainees from various universities across Canada and that really is a differentiator. We are focused on enabling a new generation of engineers through the various GTLP programs which are going to be the anchor providers to our customers. That’s the real differentiator for us in TELUS.
  • Five do’s and don’ts CSPs should know about going cloud-native — ...Gartner predicts that by 2025, cloud-native platforms will serve as the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives, which is up from less than 40% in 2021. “Getting the data governance right is a critical part,” said Dr. Thomas. “We have all these different use cases that we use the data to drive business insights and value. The underlying data for it is in a common database. So as we do each use case, we will bring in new data into our data ocean, but they’ll be standardized and normalized.” In addition to data consolidation and normalization, it is essential to set standards for data quality, ownership, lifecycle management, interoperability and exchange. With that established, you can really focus on delivering that business value with 5G, IoT, and even network optimization use cases, most of which are data and analytics driven.
  • Improving the cloud for telcos: Updates of Microsoft’s acquisition of AT&T’s Network Cloud — One key aspect of this collaboration is our respective roles—Microsoft develops the carrier-grade hybrid cloud technology that supports the AT&T mobility core network workloads. AT&T continues to select and manage the network applications (VNFs and CNFs) and their configurations to deliver mobility services to AT&T customers. As such, we're taking the AT&T Network Cloud technology, building it into Microsoft's standard hybrid cloud product, and then delivering a carrier-grade hybrid cloud solution back to the market and AT&T itself, where it can run at AT&T on-premises or on Azure public cloud. Microsoft hybrid cloud technology supports the AT&T mobility core network workloads used to deliver 5G connectivity that supports consumer, enterprise, and the FirstNet responder community. In terms of security, it’s important to note that Microsoft does not access AT&T customer data—AT&T continues to hold access to that data, and Microsoft cannot see it.
  • Helium aims to be 'largest cellular network' in US — There are plenty of caveats to Haleem's statement. First, Haleem appears to be using the number of an operator's transmission sites as a measurement of the "biggest" operator. That's likely because Helium expects to count up to 40,000 5G small cells by the end of 2022. That would be more than the 30,000 Verizon ended 2021 with. It would also be within spitting distance of the 110,000 total macro cell towers that T-Mobile operates as it merges its operations with Sprint's network. Already Helium counts more than 400,000 LoRa transmission sites – for low-powered, slow-speed Internet of things (IoT) services – around the globe.