Sunday, January 22, 2023

FCC publishes rules for 4.9 GHz band

The FCC published a 166-page report and order that establishes a coordinated nationwide approach to managing the 4.9 GHz (4940-4990 MHz) band. The new rules introduce a nationwide Band Manager, which will be selected based on its expertise and connections to the public safety community and will coordinate all operations in the band to ensure that any non-public safety use remains fully secondary to, and preemptible by, public safety operations.  This nationwide framework will optimize public safety use and enable the integration of the latest commercially available technologies, such as 5G. The FCC is seeking comment on details of implementing this model.

The new rules allow for the collection of granular data on public safety operations in the 4.9 GHz band in order to improve interference mitigation efforts and bolster public safety confidence in the band.

AWS plans data center expansions in Virginia

Amazon Web Services (AWS) plans to invest $35 billion by 2040 to establish multiple data center campuses across Virginia.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is developing a new Mega Data Center Incentive Program. The new program includes up to a 15-year extension of Data Center Sales and Use tax exemptions on qualifying equipment and enabling software. In addition, and also subject to approval by the General Assembly, AWS will be eligible to receive an MEI custom performance grant of up to $140 million for site and infrastructure improvements, workforce development, and other project-related costs.

“AWS has a significant presence in Virginia, and we are excited that AWS has chosen to continue their growth and expand their footprint across the Commonwealth,” said Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia. “Virginia will continue to encourage the development of this new generation of data center campuses across multiple regions of the Commonwealth. These areas offer robust utility infrastructure, lower costs, great livability, and highly educated workforces and will benefit from the associated economic development and increased tax base, assisting the schools and providing services to the community.”

“With the highest concentration of tech talent in the U.S., Virginia boasts one of the largest data center workforces in the nation—an advantage that sets us apart and directly benefits an industry leader like AWS,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “We thank AWS for its commitment to the Commonwealth of Virginia and look forward to a continued partnership in the years to come.”

“Virginia is a world leader in innovation and cloud computing, thanks to its investment in a robust, highly-skilled workforce and emphasis on long-term public and private partnerships,” said Roger Wehner, Director of Economic Development, AWS. “Since 2006, AWS has invested more than $35 billion in Virginia, boosting the Commonwealth’s total Gross Domestic Product by nearly $7 billion and supporting thousands of jobs annually. Building on these successful beginnings, we plan to invest an additional $35 billion in the Commonwealth of Virginia by 2040 and create 1,000 jobs.”

Gartner predicts 2.4% growth in global IT spending this year

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.5 trillion in 2023, an increase of 2.4% from 2022, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. This is down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 5.1% growth. 

Gartner observes that inflation continues to erode consumer purchasing power and drive device spending down, but predicts that overall enterprise IT spending will remain strong.

“Consumers and enterprises are facing very different economic realities,” said John-David Lovelock, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “While inflation is devastating consumer markets, contributing to layoffs at B2C companies, enterprises continue to increase spending on digital business initiatives despite the world economic slowdown.

The software and IT services segments are projected to grow 9.3% and 5.5% in 2023, respectively. The devices segment is forecast to decline 5.1% this year as both consumers and enterprises lengthen device refresh cycles.

Ericsson's Q4: Strength in N. America 5G offset by other declines

Ericsson reported Q4 2022 sales growth in North America – mainly from 5G Core contracts - offset by declines in IPR revenues and previously announced charges, including the DOJ provision, IoT divestment and Cloud Software and Services contract and portfolio exits. EBITA excluding restructuring charges amounted to SEK 9.3 (12.8) b. with an EBITA margin of 10.8% (17.9%). EBITA was impacted by the previously announced charges.

Ericsson's CEO, Börje Ekholm, provides the following update:

"With our fourth quarter result we are on track to deliver on our long-term EBITA target of 15-18% by 2024. We remain fully committed to our strategic ambitions and have full confidence in the long term. During the quarter, we made measurable progress towards achieving these ambitions, against a backdrop of broad macroeconomic headwinds. As we said during our Capital Markets Day, there are near-term uncertainties, however, we are still in the early phase of global 5G rollout and widespread enterprise digitalization."

"Our strategy remains rooted in driving sustainable growth and maximizing value across all stakeholders. We are confident that we have the right team and strategy in place to extend our leadership in mobile networks; achieve profitability in Cloud Software and Services; execute in our high growth Enterprise segment; shape the industry landscape by becoming a platform company leveraging the 5G innovation platform; and continue our unwavering commitment to a culture of integrity."

"This quarter, we signed a multiyear IPR patent license agreement with a major licensee. This positive outcome positions us well to capture further 5G patent license agreements among handset manufacturers and in new areas such as consumer electronics and IoT. We expect significant IPR revenue growth over the coming 18-24 months."

"Group Net Sales grew by 1% YoY, of which IPR revenues contributed with 5 percentage points. EBITA of SEK 9.3 (12.8) b. corresponds to a margin[2] of 10.8% (17.9%). The positive impact from higher IPR revenues was offset by expected business mix shift and previously announced charges of SEK -4 b. We executed on our ambition to reduce inventory contributing to our free cash flow before M&A of SEK 16.9 (13.5) b."

"Our Networks business grew in India on the back of significant market share gains. As anticipated, the growth from share gains in several markets could not fully compensate for reduced operator capex and inventory reductions in other markets, including North America. Gross margin[2] was 44.6% (46.4%), negatively impacted by this business mix shift including a higher share of services sales from large network rollout projects. The IPR patent license agreement had positive margin impact."

"During the quarter, we were able to largely offset the impact of high inflation with commercial activities, including product substitution. We continue to invest in technology to enhance performance and cost leadership, expand our global footprint and improve productivity and capital efficiency across the supply chain."

"In Cloud Software and Services, organic sales decreased by -2% excluding IPR revenues. Sales growth in North America – mainly from 5G Core contracts – was offset by a decline in other market areas. We remain committed to improving profitability and are on a clear path to reaching operating profit break-even for full-year 2023 by limiting subscale software development, accelerating automation, and changing focus from market share gains to profitability. In Q4, we decided to exit certain subscale business, with a one-off charge."

"Within Enterprise, we continue to leverage our strength in mobile networks to accelerate our business. Organically, sales grew by 15%. Our Enterprise strategy is underpinned by two pillars: First, our Enterprise Wireless Solutions business, focused on capturing the multi-billion-dollar enterprise market opportunity for 5G optimized networking and security solutions. Second, through the Global Communication Platform business, we will enable new ways of monetizing 5G by transforming how network features such as speed and latency are globally exposed, consumed and paid for. Enterprise is a growth engine for the company, and we continue to fine-tune our portfolio to maximize profitability. To this end, we announced the divestment of our loss-making IoT business in Q4. We continue to invest to strengthen our enterprise go-to-market channel and broaden our enterprise product portfolio. In addition, we are increasing our investments in developing the network APIs that will underpin the long-term growth in Global Communication Platform. From 2024 and beyond our enterprise business will be a major driver of Ericsson’s long-term growth and profitability, however, these investments will weigh on profitability during 2023."

"We remain positive on the long-term outlook for our business. However, the near-term outlook, as we also described at our Capital Markets Day, remains uncertain. We expect operators to continue to sweat assets in response to macroeconomic headwinds. In addition, we expect operators to adjust inventory levels as supply situation eases. These trends started to impact Networks in Q4 and we expect them to continue at least during the first half of 2023. At the same time, we expect good growth from market share wins, albeit not fully offsetting the near-term headwinds. In the longer-term, capex is driven by traffic growth. Given near-term macroeconomic headwinds, we expect Enterprise to grow somewhat slower than during 2022."

Orange Business Services builds flexible SD-WAN for JDE

Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), a global coffee company, has deployed Orange Business Services' Flexible SD-WAN to connect more than 120 locations worldwide.

Orange Business Services has implemented a global connectivity solution using managed Flexible SD-WAN across 40 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In addition, Orange provides a range of managed network security services across the core infrastructure of JDE’s data centers located in Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Singapore, along with cloud-based security solutions. 

“JDE is benefiting from a secure and agile infrastructure built on our Evolution Platform connectivity, cloud and security expertise. This approach is designed to accelerate its digital transformation and propel its business forward. The company has already seen major performance benefits with the ability to quickly turn up and add new sites to its network, and this is hopefully just the beginning of a fruitful partnership,” said Nemo Verbist, Senior Vice President Europe for Orange Business Services. 

IonQ to open quantum computing manufacturing site in Bothell

IonQ will open a quantum computing manufacturing facility in Bothell, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.

The new 65,000 square foot facility will house IonQ’s growing R&D and manufacturing teams, as they develop systems to meet continued customer demand.

“IonQ making the decision to open the first ever quantum computing manufacturing facility in the country right here in Bothell is a very big deal — and it’s great news for Washington state,” said Senator Murray. “Opening this facility will absolutely help ensure Washington state continues to be a leader in innovation and cutting-edge technologies — but it also means jobs that will be an investment in our families and their futures. These are the kinds of investments that happen when we pass legislation like the CHIPS and Science Act to invest in American manufacturing and build the economy of the future right here at home.”

“Advanced technologies like quantum computing are key to solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as climate change, energy, and transportation,” said Peter Chapman, CEO and President of IonQ. “The Seattle region has been a hub of tech innovation and manufacturing for decades, and has the skilled workforce we need to design, build and manufacture our quantum computers. As we planned our expansion, the Seattle area was an ideal option for our new facility. We’re excited to be among the other innovative companies who call Seattle home, many of which are IonQ partners and customers.”

  • In 2022, IonQ and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) announced that their public-private partnership had yielded a sustainable and robust supply of barium qubits for IonQ’s next generation of barium-based quantum computers. Additionally, IonQ’s quantum systems are available on the two major cloud platforms from the region — Amazon Braket and Azure Quantum.

EUTELSAT 5 decommissioned after 20 years in orbit

The EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite has been decommissioned after 20+ years ofin-orbit operation. 

Based on a Spacebus 3000B3 platform manufactured by the then Alcatel Alenia Space (now Thales Alenia Space), the satellite was originally built on behalf of Stellat. Shortly after its launch in July 2002, the satellite was bought by Eutelsat and renamed Atlantic Bird-3, operating from the 5° West orbital position where it remained for its entire operational life. It was given the name EUTELSAT 5 West A in 2012 and operated in an inclined orbit since the end of 2019, which enabled an extended lifespan of the satellite.

A progressive transfer of services to the new EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite, as well as other satellites of the Eutelsat fleet, was started in January 2020, ensuring seamless continuity of operations for customers. The EUTELSAT 5 West A continued to operate until its decommissioning, notably providing maritime connectivity.

Eva Berneke, Eutelsat Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The impressive extended lifespan of EUTELSAT 5 West A showcases the first-rate satellite control expertise of the Eutelsat teams. The satellite provided an overall service availability of 99.999%, a figure that stands as a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the Eutelsat teams who have worked together throughout the years on this mission.”

James Matthews, Eutelsat CSR Director, added: “The decommissioning of EUTELSAT 5 West A satellite is a perfect example of our commitment to the responsible use of space, a fundamental element of the Group’s CSR mission. This operation shows how the Space Traffic Management expertise of Eutelsat is being used to mitigate the risk of space debris for both security and environmental concerns, ensuring the long-term sustainability of space for all operators”.