Saudi Telecom in Cisco alliance to develop 5G

Women sit in a 5G connected car simulator displayed at the Saudi Telecom Company stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. (Reuters)
Updated 28 February 2018
0

Saudi Telecom in Cisco alliance to develop 5G

LONDON: Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Cisco have penned a deal designed to pave the way for collaboration for the development of 5G in KSA.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Under the terms of the accord, which is not yet a fully-fledged agreement involving a financial outlay, Cisco would work with STC to transform its network to unlock the commercial potential of ultra-modern 5G mobile networks.
A joint statement said the initiative aimed to facilitate STC’s transformation into a digital service provider and supported its role in promoting Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision and National Transformation Plan.
“We are excited about the next phase of our evolution which will pave the way for massive innovation and give rise to a new breed of services that benefit the Saudi economy,” said Nasser Al-Nasser, chief operating officer of STC.
He added: “Our new 5G network architecture will enable us to make the next leap forward by delivering inclusive broadband that transforms how people use technology in their daily lives. We look forward to working closely with Cisco to develop a future-ready network that delivers advanced capabilities to help us address increasing customer demands and new service trends.”
The transition to 5G was said to be fundamental to STC’s vision, as it focused on developments linked to smart cities and the “Internet of Things.”
Virtualization and network automation would play a prominent role in STC’s strategic blueprint, creating the scaleable network that supports the creation of new services in the fastest and most agile way possible.
“As businesses increasingly digitize, mobile carriers will need the speed, low latency, reliability and dynamic provisioning capabilities that 5G networks are expected to deliver,” said Ali Amer, managing director, global service provider sales, Cisco Middle East and Africa. “Our collaboration with STC will enable their network infrastructure to evolve into the new era of digitization by taking advantage of the 5G momentum,” he added.
Another key element of the collaboration was to address the security needs of the 5G era “by building a framework for threat intelligence that underpins STC’s prevention, detection and mitigation efforts,” said the joint statement.
Separately, Samsung, Sony and Nokia have debuted new smartphones at the telecoms congress in the Catalonian capital in Spain. Forbes reported that the launch of these latest versions has come amid a drop in global smartphone sales last year. Forbes cited data from US research firm Gartner which showed worldwide sales of smartphones declined for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2017, dropping 5.6 percent compared to the previous year.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 24 May 2019
0

Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.
“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”