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5G Network Security: UK tightens grip on Huawei even more

Yehia El Amine

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5G Network

The UK government continues to tighten its grip on Chinese tech titan Huawei, and other “high-risk vendors” from the country’s 5G network rollout, by announcing a roadmap that would see UK telcos unable to install Huawei equipment as of September 2021.

This will prove costly for British carriers who will be forced to kickoff the removal of Huawei equipment from their 5G networks – most of which were launched in 2019 – to comply with the decision made by the Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“Today I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks,” Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement. “This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security.”

The roadmap will also include the launching of a new 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy that will pave the way to attract new vendors within the British market; bolstering the country’s position on security by allowing the network to have kits made by several companies rather than relying on one or two big players. 

In parallel, the UK government is set to invest an initial £250 million ($332 million) in a plethora of innovation-powered projects, which include establishing a secure research facility, labelled the National Telecoms Lab. 

“We hope that the diversification strategy will make sure we are never again dependent on a handful of telecoms vendors for the smooth and secure running of our networks,” Dowden said in a statement.

Communications regulator Ofcom is to be tasked with the monitoring and assessing of security protocols among telecoms providers.

The emergence of another ban on Huawei equipment heightens frustrations within the British telecoms sector, which has dealt with a multitude of changes issued by the government on the use of Huawei kits. 

Industry executives have expressed concerns regarding another deadline that had been set without its consultation. 

The roadmap will impact some British carriers who have already stockpiled on essential Huawei equipment that was to facilitate initial phases of constructing the country’s 5G network capabilities. 

The law will render the stockpile moot for long-term usage and maintenance.

The trickiness of the ban is due to Huawei’s designing and manufacturing the kit controlling how and where data is being sent, such as network switches, gateways, routers and bridges. 

These represent a core part of 5G infrastructure that touch basically everything traversing the Internet, which are critical for the network to function properly. 

The UK has repeatedly shifted their stance on the use of Huawei equipment over the past year, by initially allowing telcos to use the company’s kits for up to a third of their 5G networks back in January that would cap Huawei’s market share at 35 percent; with that, the industry adapted their plans and strategies accordingly. 

However, during the summer, the government changed its stance once more by introducing a full out ban on purchasing new equipment by the Chinese tech giant, as well as a complete phase-out of the company’s equipment by a deadline set to 2027.

Initially, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) implemented the 35 percent market share cap rule on Huawei but was then forced to change its recommendation following fresh restrictions announced by Washington in May, preventing computer chips based on American designs from being used in any of its equipment.

The 5G security concerns, which were ignited by the Trump administration’s trade spat with China, includes espionage, sabotage, and blackmail. The U.S. government considers Huawei as a security risk and has urged allies to shun its equipment over fears it could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.

Britain’s premier initially resisted the ban, allowing Huawei to rollout a new high-speed network in Britain back in January, but changed his mind later in July, as he looked to align his country with its NATO ally. 

However, British telcos seem divided over the roadmap, as members of the industry, such as Vodafone CTO Scott Petty and Hamish MacLeod, Director of the trade association for British carriers Mobile UK, warmly welcomed the Digital Ministry’s roadmap. 

“This [strategy] will nurture UK talent, foster innovation and competition and deliver more jobs and investment across the economy,” MacLeod said in a statement, with Petty adding that, “This strategy and financial commitment from the government is good for the industry, and for smaller UK technology firms that will only grow with the right support.”

The decision to freeze out Huawei from the British 5G network will carry a hefty price tag of £2bn that British telcos will have to cover, as well as causing several years of delay to nationwide 5G rollout.

The worldwide Huawei debate was initially sparked after the Trump Administration argued that China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law states that organizations must support, co-operate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work, meaning that Beijing could force Huawei to do its bidding. 

Huawei has firmly rejected and denied the allegations made against its equipment being used to spy on behalf of the Chinese government. 

In a statement issued by the company, Huawei expressed that “it has never been asked to conduct acts of espionage, and would categorically refuse to comply if the request was made,” adding that they, “would never compromise or harm any country, organization, or individual, especially when it comes to cyber-security and user privacy protection.”

The NCSC conducted an investigation looking into the equipment manufactured by the Chinese tech titan in March of 2019, but reported that it hadn’t found any evidence of malicious state activities, although it was able to identify several serious defects in the devices’ software engineering and cyber-security measures. 

However, previous experiences with the company’s activities has shaken its trustworthiness in front of governments of the world. 

In previous years and according to U.S. court documents, Huawei employees had been caught conducting acts of corporate espionage in the United States, by attempting to steal the intellectual property of T-Mobile’s phone-testing robot.

While this incident was not tied to any activities facilitating state-sponsored espionage, it significantly dealt a blow to Huawei’s trustworthiness nonetheless. 

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Yehia is an investigative journalist and editor with extensive experience in the news industry as well as digital content creation across the board. He strives to bring the human element to his writing.

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100GB of 5G data for under EUR 10, part of new plan by Iliad Italia

Karim Hussami

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100GB of 5G data for under EUR 10, part of new plan by Iliad Italia

Iliad Italia has launched a new plan dubbed ‘Flash 100 5G’ with 100GB of data at maximum possible speeds of up to 5G plus unlimited calls and SMS for EUR 9.99 a month.

The plan by the telco improves its inaugural 5G offer of 70GB of data for the same price launched at the end of last year, which was initially available for one month before being renamed ‘Giga 70’.

Some of the benefits mentioned in the plan include unlimited minutes of voice calls and SMS, as well as valid for roaming in Europe. Customers used to benefit from those features in the past plans.

When the user is in a European country, he also has an extra 6GB for data traffic outside Italy. Added to this are unlimited calls to mobile and landline phones in over 60 countries around the world.

In March 2017, Italy launched a 5G trial to implement infrastructures and services in 5 cities: the metropolitan area of Milan, Prato, L’Aquila, Bari and Matera. In September 2017, authorisation was granted for the use of 100 Mhz in the 3.6-3.8 Ghz band for the roll-out of 5G in 5 Italian cities.

Iliad 5g coverage

Iliad 5G is arriving in the first cities, by working to increase the 5G network coverage, already available in some areas of the following cities: Alessandria, Bari, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Como, Ferrara, Florence, Genoa, amongst others.

The new plan also include the operator including all 5G smartphones among the devices compatible with the 5G iliad network, having the below devices already available:

Huawei: P40, P40 Pro, P40 Pro +
Oppo: Reno4 5G, Reno4 Pro 5G, Find X2 Lite, Find X2 Neo, Find X2 Pro
Xiaomi: MI 10T Lite 5G, Mi 10, Mi 10T, Mi 10T Pro, Mi 10 Pro
Motorola: Edge, Moto G 5G Plus, Moto Razr 5G
Nokia: Nokia 8.3 5Ge

Iliad Italia gained 580,000 net new customers in Q3 2020, reaching 6.8 million mobile subscribers at end-September 2020, and said it now has an almost 9% share of the Italian mobile market.

In Italy, Iliad said it recorded “a very high number” of net additions despite ongoing targeted and aggressively priced offerings launched by competitors and the market’s lower churn rate since late February, when the government introduced initial restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Sim card for Italy and abroad

While any traveler can get an Italy sim card on his arrival to the country without a problem, there is also the option of buying one online before the trip.

For example, the Alertify European SIM card offers services that can easily work in Italy.

Alertify travel sim card international provides inexpensive, fast and secure mobile internet service globally and enables customer travel around the world and stay connected with one SIM only.

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5G smartphones top choice of buyers in India: Oppo survey

Karim Hussami

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5G smartphones

Smartphones enabled with 5G features are becoming the top choice of buyers in India much ahead of fifth-generation’s rollout, a recent survey by leading smartphone brand Oppo revealed.

According to Oppo, 5G smartphones are gaining traction in tier-II and tier-III cities and towns like Halol, Raiganj, Chikhli, Ongole, Rajula.

Although all efforts were focused on deploying fifth-generation technology in India by mid-2021 and preparing for it following several trials, the parliamentary panel on information technology considers that the country is not well prepared for 5G rollout.

“This growth in demand for 5G enabled devices as it will be the key consideration to feed the rise of consumption of content among users is an indication of digital readiness of Indian users,” Oppo said.

In parallel, the findings by Oppo additionally burdened on digital camera and videography options that are probably the most utilized by the shoppers.

69.6 percent of the respondents talked about using videography very regularly, whereas 81.6 percent of respondents selected AI Videography for enhanced smartphone expertise, adapted by battery, efficiency, show, and processor.

While it is planned for 5G to be rolled out in metropolitan cities followed by other areas similar to the launch of 4G, the parliamentary report identified a range of issues holding up the rollout of the service such as spectrum issues, including uncertainty around the sale of 5G spectrum bands, amongst others.

“The Committee finds that inadequate availability of spectrum, high spectrum prices, poor development of use cases, low status of fiberization, non-uniform RoW [right of way] issues, deficient backhaul capacity, etc. are some of the factors coming in the way of rolling out of 5G services in India,” the panel headed by MP Shashi Tharoor said.

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Huawei leads 5G-ready smartphones market as world prepares for mass adoption

Inside Telecom Staff

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5G-ready smartphones

5G is the next significant evolution in the mobile landscape, promising to deliver better and faster connectivity. The technology will also empower innovate variety of existing and new apps, including cloud gaming on the go.

Newzoo’s Global Mobile Market Report shows that there will be over 700 million 5G-ready smartphones active in the market this year (a market share of 16 percent), up from 206 million in 2020.

Despite pandemic-related setbacks in terms of 5G infrastructure and rollout, especially in emerging markets and in the West, manufacturers released an array of 5G-ready handsets last year. And consumers were eager to buy these models, completely shaking up our ranking of the top companies by 5G-ready devices.

Who is leading the 5G-ready pack? In this article, Newzoo will be looking at 5G-ready smartphones actively used in the market—in terms of general usage, not 5G usage.

Huawei overtakes Samsung as #1 manufacturer of 5g-ready smartphones

Huawei had an incredible 2020 in terms of its 5G-ready-smartphone sales. Owing to the success of devices such as the P40 series, the company became the 5G-ready market leader at the end of 2020. Huawei’s share of active 5G-ready devices skyrocketed from 8.6 percent in November to 27 percent in December:5G-ready smartphones.

Huawei’s home market, China, remains the leader in 5G device adoption; therefore, it’s no surprise that the company is also leading the market for 5G-ready smartphones. 

But Huawei’s future position remains uncertain, owing to the U.S sanctions and the fact that it sold the Honor brand (reportedly based on sanctions situation). Soon after this sale, Honor began working with Qualcomm and MediaTek on 5G chips. Nevertheless, Huawei’s impressive market share as of December 2020 is undeniable.

Samsung falls to #2, but enjoys superior presence

Samsung was among the first major brands to push 5G in its flagship devices, with 2019’s Galaxy S10 series already offering 5G-readiness. This helped Samsung secure an early foothold in the 5G-ready-smartphone market, especially in its home market of South Korea. Newzoo’s Monthly Active Mobile Device Data shows that in December 2020:

  • South Korea accounted for 21.8 percent of Samsung’s active 5G-ready smartphones.
  • The U.S. accounted for 9.1 percent.
  • And Russia accounted for 5.6 percent.

Samsung has since expanded 5G functionality to its non-flagship handsets, including devices in its Galaxy A series. As of December 2020, over 21.6 million active Galaxy A21 5G handsets were active worldwide, as shown in Monthly Active Mobile Device Data.

While newer entrants have taken much of the Korean tech giant’s share, Samsung still boasted a 5G-ready market share of 25.1 percent in December 2020. But its biggest competitor, the other half of the overall-smartphone-market duopoly, might be catching up. 

Success of iPhone 12 in China Brought Apple into the Top 3 for 5G

In mid-October, Apple announced the iPhone 12 series, the first iPhones to support 5G connection thanks to their mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G compatibility.

Newzoo expected Apple’s foray into smartphones to significantly bolster the uptake of 5G-ready devices, and that’s exactly what happened. After just one flagship release, Apple is now the world’s #3 smartphone brand by 5G-ready devices, boasting a market share just shy of 20 percent in December 2020:

Apple also enjoyed its best-ever quarter by revenues in its fiscal Q1 2021. In a conference call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that China had a record number of iPhone upgraders during the quarter. Total revenues from Greater China hit $21.3 billion, up +57 percent from last year.

The iPhone 12’s 5G capability was—and continues to be—one of the major drivers for Chinese consumers upgrading their handsets; after all, the country quickly and effectively rolled out its 5G network infrastructure. This certainly bolstered Apple’s strong 5G-ready performance and is reflected in Active Mobile Device Data for December 2020:

– 29.5 percent of Apple’s active 5G-ready smartphones were in China

– 24.7 percent were in the U.S.

– And 8.7 percent were in Japan.

Newzoo expects that the iPhone 12 series drive will further 5G-ready adoption in Apple’s key markets (including China, Japan, and the U.S.) this year and beyond. 

We also expect to see Chinese brands continuing to perform well in the 5G-ready-smartphone space, including Xiaomi and OPPO, who also saw market-share jumps in December 2020.

One thing is for sure: when infrastructure catches up and the pandemic subsides, consumers across the globe will be ready to take advantage of the next generation in mobile internet technology. But how can companies stay up to date with active (5G-ready) smartphones?

About Newzoo

Newzoo clients who subscribe to Monthly Active Mobile Device Data include some of the world’s biggest tech giants—as well as leading app publishers that have underlined growth countries as a strategic priority. Others, closer to the telecom sector, ingest the data into their business intelligence (BI) platform, combining it with their shipping or sales data.


This article has been written by Amsterdam-based gaming market insights firm Newzoo.

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