Friday News Round-up: 10/10/2014

10 October 2014 | Kavit Majithia

A summary of the week’s biggest telecoms news stories.

The SDN dream delivered
The hype surrounding SDN and NFV is finally being put to the test in 2014, as carriers have begun launching commercial services utilising the technology.

This week NTT Communications revealed how it has used the technologies to expand the functionality of its cloud platform, offering enterprises the ability to “self-manage” their cloud network.

The operator is aiming to bring the same level of control and automation that it can offer customers on the compute side over to the network side – which is precisely the principles SDN was based on.

NTT Com has done this in a variety of ways. Firstly, it claims to enable customers to change VPN bandwidth and routing information. Secondly, it allows users to establish or eliminate internet circuits, as well as change bandwidth and add global IP addresses. Thirdly, enterprises can add or delete up to 24 server segments on demand, allowing them to modify system structures in the cloud for short-term optimisation.

All of which can be done via its web portal, reducing the process time for the above from days to minutes. The result is that customers have more power to tailor cloud services to their requirements, which could soon be a trend for the rest of the industry.

An enticing offer?
Amid a reshuffle of management at both Oi and Portugal Telecom, the two companies now have another matter to consider in the shape of a potential bid for the Portuguese operator from Luxembourg’s Altice.

Oi and Altice have reportedly been discussing the future of Portugal Telecom, which despite the delay in the actual merger between Oi and Portugal Telecom is still part of the Brazilian firm.

That said, with Oi CEO Zeinal Bava announcing his resignation from the role this week, rumours are now flying around that the merger may not materialise at all.

The merger is still due to complete in early 2015, but Altice’s interest could shake things up.

Unnamed sources told reporters that Altice, owned by Patrick Drahi, has been “eying the Portuguese market for some time and there have been talks for months”.

A further source on Oi’s side also favoured an offer from Altice, saying it would make sense for Oi to sell some of Portugal Telecom’s assets in a bid to reduce some of its debt.

“This may help us, providing more financial flexibility for Oi to participate in the ongoing consolidation process of the telecoms industry here in Brazil,” the source said.

And there are hints that Oi is doing just that, with the sale of its majority stake in Africatel just last month.

Carriers remain the villains
EU anti-trust regulators have finally scrapped an investigation into three of Europe’s largest operators, after a probe that lasted over a year.

Following allegations that Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica had abused their market power to block content companies’ access to network infrastructure, the European Telecoms Commission implemented an investigation into all three companies in an attempt to find wrongdoing.

The claims originated from US player Cogent Communications, and the three operators in question then faced unannounced inspections.

The allegations were based around the three operators acting in an anti-competitive fashion, but after approximately 16 months, the commission stated that it “found no evidence of behaviour aimed at foreclosing transit services from the market”.

The situation, which has now been resolved without any fines, represents the telcos’ new position in this transformative market that includes content companies.

Operators own the pipes, operators own the infrastructure, operators have the bulk of the money and operators have all the power. In effect, operators are now the villains in the story.

It was claimed that approximately 100 million people in Europe experienced restrictions to their internet services, but despite no evidence of wrongdoing, the fact that content players are reliant on the networks will mean allegations like this will surface again in the future.

And the fact remains that every time a Netflix video takes a long time to load, or a Facebook status update fails, the content companies will remain blameless.

Liability for that will always fall on the carrier. And that’s a fact.

Kavit Majithia
News editor