BTwatch
This release
: #297
July 2018: 52pp
Releases/year: 10+
Click for more details of this release

Executive Brief

Group

Trading Update [p.6]

  • BT updates with sketchy Q1 report
  • DT keeping the faith with BT

BT flags quantum leap in internet security [p.8]

  • ADVA and ID Quantique lend a hand
  • BT ups the ante with blockchain
  • BT gets in on blockchain patent action

BT's strategic ambitions to become a platform company [p.11]

  • BT prominent in API proof-of-concept demos
  • Table: People Movements

Consumer

EE to launch first UK live 5G trial network… [p.18]

  • Figure: 5G Momentum Index
  • BT defends early 5G launch plans

EE follows through with convergence, Consumer ups prices [p.20]

  • BT signs bespoke advertising deal with Channel 4
  • BT aims to objectify sport
  • More alarms sounded over ESN
  • BT/EE: A watching brief
  • EE launches smart number technology for Apple users

Global Services

Open sesame for BT Global Services? [p.30]

  • Alibaba's focus on Europe tightens
  • National security concerns may affect any agreement
  • BT Americas chief talks up geopolitics and security

Security

BT sues Fortinet for infringing network security patents [p.33]

  • BT holds patchy litigation record, but Counterpane credentials may help
  • What's a civil suit between friends?

Openreach

Government, Ofcom and Openreach commit to fibre [p.35]

  • Government aims for invigorated competition in a more open market
  • Ofcom prepares itself for a makeover
  • Openreach takes its first steps to fall in line
  • Openreach ramps up superfast rollout in Scotland
  • Fog clears as Wales updates on Superfast Cymru
  • Pension 'complexities' delay progress on Openreach separation

Suppliers

Huawei and Nokia entwined for Openreach fibre [p.43]

  • Go with what you know
  • Huawei takes another security hit, but deepens BT roots

Further reading

Index

Symbols

21st Century Fox
- Sky
-- NOW TV 21

A

Accenture 31
ADVA Optical Networking 8
Airbus 9
Alphabet
- Google
-- Android 27, 33
-- DoubleClick 23
Amazon 11, 30
- Amazon Web Services 30
Apple 11, 27
-- iPhone 27
Arqiva 15, 21
Atos 9
AT&T 13

B

BearingPoint 13
Blue Coat Systems, Inc. 33
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 14, 15, 21, 24
- BBC Trust 24
- iPlayer 21
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) 38, 39
BT Group 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 24, 27, 30, 41, 42
- Asia
-- Tech Mahindra 13, 15
- BT Consumer 14, 20, 22, 23, 24, 37
-- BT TV 21
-- Plusnet 24
- BT Enterprise
-- BT Business & Public Sector 14, 15
-- BT Ireland 14, 15
-- BT Northern Ireland 42
-- BT Wholesale & Ventures 14
- BT Global Services 6, 15, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33
-- BT Americas 32
-- BT Compute 32
-- BT Counterpane 33
-- BT iNet 13
-- BT Italia 9, 30
-- BT Radianz 15
-- BT Security 33
- BT Pension Scheme 41
- BT Technology, Service and Operations 8, 12
-- Adastral Park 8, 44
-- Azure 30
- Directors
-- du Plessis, Jan 37
-- Hoettges, Timotheus 7
-- Rake, Sir Michael 9
- EE 6, 7, 12, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
-- 4GEE Wi-Fi 20
-- Emergency Services Network 12, 25
- Executives
-- Allera, Marc 14, 19, 24
-- Artley, Jennifer 32
-- Glass, George 11
-- Haines, Steve 14
-- Hindhaugh, Jamie 24
-- Hughes, Mark 44
-- Lowth, Simon 7
-- Patel, Mahesh 14
-- Patterson, Gavin 9
-- Petter, Ed 24
-- Sabey, Jim 31
-- Selley, Clive 43
-- Tatham, Martin 15
-- Watson, Howard 12
-- Whitley, Tim 8
-- Willetts, Helen 24
- Openreach 6, 7, 14, 15, 20, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

C

Cambridge University 8
Carillion 9
Channel 4 15, 21, 23
Cisco Systems, Inc. 30
CK Hutchison 19
- Three Group
-- Three UK 19, 22
Colt Technology Services 10
Communications Workers Union 40
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 36
Credit Suisse 30

D

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS, UK)
- Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) 37, 38, 39
- Hancock, Matt 38
Deutsche Telekom 7
Digital Britain 35, 38
Dolby Laboratories, Inc. 24
DTV Services
- Freeview 21

E

Enarpee Services 22
Ericsson 13, 14
Ernst & Young 14
European Union 7, 10, 32
- European Court of Justice 27
EXFO 13

F

Facebook 8, 11
Financial Reporting Council 9
Fortinet 33
Fujitsu 9

G

Google 9, 23, 30, 33

H

Hewlett Packard Enterprise 30
Home Office (UK) 25, 26
House of Commons
- Public Accounts Committee 25
HP Inc 9, 15, 30
HSBC 24
Huawei
- Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre 44
Huawei Technologies 9, 10, 31, 43, 44
- Neul 44

I

IAS 19 6
IBM 9, 15, 30
Infosys 13
Intel 9, 31
ITV 15, 21

K

KDDI Group 13
Kingston Communications (KCOM) 14
KPMG 9

L

Liberty Global
- Virgin Media 14, 36
Linux 13
Lockheed Martin 9

M

Meetic
- Match.com 33
Microsoft 9, 30
Morgan Stanley 9
Motorola 26
Motorola Solutions
- Airwave 25, 26

N

NEC 9
- Netcracker 13
Nokia 9, 24, 43
NTT 9, 13

O

Ofcom 7, 12, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 42
- Strategic Review of the Telecoms Sector 38, 42
Omnicom Group
- Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO 23
Oracle 30
Orange 12, 13

P

PCCW 10
Pricewaterhouse Coopers 9

R

Raytheon 9
Royal KPN 9

S

SK Telecom 9
SSE plc 19
- SSE Enteprise Telecoms 19
Standard and Poor's 7
Strategic Review of the Digital Communications Market 42
Superfast Cymru 40
Symantec 33

T

TalkTalk Telecom Group 14, 15
Tech City 18
Tech Mahindra 13, 15
Technology
- 2G 12, 25
- 3D 24
- 3G 12
- 4K (Ultra HD TV) 13
- 5G 12, 13, 18, 19, 24, 35, 36, 37, 38
- ADSL 22
- Blockchain 10
- Broadband 7, 18, 20, 21, 22, 26, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40
- Fibre 7, 8, 19, 20, 21, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43
-- Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) 21, 22, 37, 39
-- Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) 20, 37, 38, 40, 41, 43
- G.fast 20, 22, 37, 43
- IP 6, 8, 22, 27
- mmWave 36
- OTT 21
- PSTN 12
- Quantum key distribution 8, 9
- Quantum Key Distribution 8
- VoD 21
- Wi-Fi 12, 14, 20, 27, 31, 38
Telecom Infra Project 8
Telecom Italia SpA 13
Telefónica 9, 10, 11, 19
- O2 UK 19
Telenor 13
Telstra 10
TM Forum 11, 12, 13, 32
Toshiba 8, 9
- Toshiba Research Europe 8

U

University of Cambridge 8

V

Verizon Communications 13
Viacom
- Channel 5 15
Vivendi 31
Vodafone 11, 12, 13, 26, 30, 31
- UK 26

W

Welsh Assembly 40
Wipro Ltd 13

Y

YouView 15, 21
- Halton, Richard 15

Z

ZTE 31

  • BT is maintaining an influential role in standards development as it progresses towards becoming a more platform-focused business.

BT’s continuing commitment to industry association TM Forum (as a founding member back in 1989) was clear at Digital Transformation World, the Forum’s main annual event held in Nice during May 2018.

In particular, BT’s work, alongside peers including Telefónica Group and Vodafone Group, on the Forum’s Open API initiative was front and centre at the event.

Evidence that BT has bought into and championed the industry’s adoption of application programming interfaces (API) was clear from its participation in a series of research projects demonstrated at the event, and underlined by comments from senior figures behind the evolution of the telco’s architecture.

APIs are an inherent part of platform-based operational and business models, which have helped propel the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Uber to being among the world’s fastest growing and most valuable companies, and are increasingly relevant to telcos moving towards virtualisation and software-based services. They mean that systems, and the data they contain, do not need to be highly integrated nor entirely compatible, as the interfaces only specify how software components interact to carry out defined tasks.

Change from within…

In February 2018, TM Forum launched a programme of work to define an Open Digital Architecture, which ultimately is expected to replace business and operations support systems to enable software-defined operations.

BT is backing this development, and the use of APIs that will enable it, for two key reasons.

Firstly, the transformation can leverage platforms internally to gain greater efficiencies by simplifying highly complex IT back office, knocking down silos, and overcoming incompatibilities, as noted by George Glass, BT Group’s Chief Systems Architect, at the event.

“BT has adopted a platform strategy that began with a single API, a ‘managed technical availability API’ used within the UK by BT and every other communication provider to check the technical availability of services at the customers’ premises. That was the start of our platform-based approach – a single API that was wrapping our legacy applications and exposing, in a consistent and coherent manner, a set of services to other communications providers.”

“As we developed our architecture, we applied the platform-based model right across our entire IT estate, which at that point in time came to about 4,500 systems. Each and every one was mapped to only one platform, and then we took the decision to transform our business using the platform-based approach. This has allowed BT to reduce the total number of IT system from 4,500 to fewer than 2,000 today, with a goal of getting down to just 700 systems.” – Glass

… and creating a new world order

Secondly, and far more ambitiously, APIs could help BT co-create a global ecosystem of platforms with other telcos to support seamless B2B2X services, by complementing their own assets and resources with those of other telcos.

While this appears a natural progression to an extent – network operators have run an interconnected global network for decades – the level of cooperation BT and its counterparts are working towards is much further ‘up the stack’ and of a different order altogether.

Whereas the interconnectivity that supports universal phone calls is at the public network level, creating a global services platform brings the operators’ associated IT systems into the mix.

Previously, telcos have guarded these ‘crown jewel’ assets possessively, seeing these systems as fundamental to the way they differentiate themselves and their services. The potential of standardised APIs, however, presents the opportunity for operators to share specific resources on a controlled basis for defined tasks, without opening up everything.

BT in from the ground floor

BT was among the instigators of TM Forum’s Open API programme in February 2016, along with Orange and Vodafone, and was a signatory, together with other global operators, of the Open API Mandate. Signatories pledged to:

  • Drive the development of the Open APIs.
  • Adopt Open APIs as foundational components of their IT architectures.
  • Promote global adoption of the API suite.
  • Encourage technology vendors and systems integrators to support these APIs in their products and cloud-based services.

It appears that the Open API initiative has seen promising take-up, with the initial suite of 18 growing to 54 through crowdsourcing. According to a TM Forum member survey, nearly 300 service providers in 66 countries are now using at least one of the Forum’s Open APIs.

Image: NASA / Unsplash

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