BTwatch
This release
: #300
November 2018: 106pp
Releases/year: 10+
Click for more details of this release

Executive brief

Group

Management Update: New CEO Jansen completes BT’s tough trinity [p.6]

  • du Plessis welcome highlights Jansen qualities
  • New triumvirate may sweep away old BT
  • Key appointment for BT Board

H1FY18‑19 results: Patterson reports progress as he edges towards door [p.11]

  • Financials: cost‑cutting puts a positive spin on ongoing shrinking
  • Investment rising, with ESN peaked
  • Lowth promotes stability, while pension still looks rocky
  • Table: Divisional round‑up
  • FT hints at BT‑DT deal on the QT, but BT down the list of DT global domination plans…

Acquisitions and disposals: Stemmer offloaded to Bechtle in Germany [p.18]

  • Italian asset sale could be moving closer

Regulatory: Ross calls for outcomes focus in new world of regulation [p.20]

Table: People movements [p.22]

BTwatch #300

BTwatch 300: Change is a constant [p.26]

  • Timeline: A brief history of BT

BT TSO

Networks: Wind River flags trials on the edge with BT [p.34]

  • BT collaborating widely on edge development

Up close and personal — insight into BT’s run-up to 5G [p.38]

  • Automation improving service now, and a foundation for future
  • Traditional metrics no longer fit for purpose
  • Three transformation goals backing four use cases, ultimately enabling 5G
  • Technology change needs cultural change
  • Ericsson already ensconced in intelligence drive

Partners: BT–Juniper Innovation Day [p.42]

  • Twenty years on: Juniper envisions Networking 3.0
  • Juniper positions itself to help operators pivot
  • Networking 3.0: hyperscale NGN
  • Cultural change and keeping people on board
  • BT’s advantage in driving the 5G network to the edge

Suppliers: Group adopts WeDo assurances on EE success [p.49]

  • BT spreading assurance work around

Telecom Infra Project: BT embraces TIP as faithful gather in London [p.51]

  • Smaller vendors cleaning up in a vacuum
  • Watson on vRAN, and the spirit of innovative co‑operation
  • Sutton advocates commodification, but recognises perils
  • TEAC UK class of 2018: BT focuses on rural and intent
  • Table: Telecom Infra Project Ecosystem Acceleration Centre cohorts, 2017–18

Consumer

5G: Cities named as EE switches on first UK 5G live trial [p.64]

  • Docklands 5G show
  • Gritty East End reality follows
  • Dense urban locations to see first 5G benefits
  • Table: EE’s planned 5G locations for 2019
  • Three UK accelerates to launch 5G in 2019

ESN: Airwave gets three more years, but ESN to launch in 2019 [p.69]

  • EE keeps own counsel as new deal evolves
  • ESN to arrive with baby steps not a big bang
  • Kodiak to have its moment
  • PAC keeping up the pressure

TV: BT and Sky deepen content-supply deal in UK and Ireland [p.74]

  • EE in talks to offer customised Apple TV STBs

Enterprise

InLinkUK: WCC deals the latest obstacle to InLink rollout [p.78]

  • New York City underlines InLink potential

Media: BT extends next-gen OB network beyond Premier League [p.81]

  • 5G developments to boost mobile broadcasting

Partners: BT Enterprise toys with VR learning [p.83]

Global Services

Dynamic Network Services: Google Cloud trumpeted as BT Connect partner [p.85]

  • Global Services to offer Riverbed’s visibility-as-a-service

BT Security: BT anticipates AI and quantum security with a human touch [p.88]

  • Quantum akin to a nuclear arms race
  • IoT another Pandora’s Box
  • Cognitive AI to merge with human mind for the bigger picture

Openreach

Management update: McTighe cosies up to Sky; echoes Virgin as common enemy [p.92]

  • Openreach’s new pals may cause tension at home

Fibre: Openreach steps up race to connect new homes [p.98]

  • Pressure from rivals with CityFibre on the rise

Further reading

Index

Symbols

6WIND 35
21st Century Fox
- Sky
-- NOW TV 74

A

Accelleran 35, 52, 55, 61
Accenture 52
Activ Financial 87
ADVA Optical Networking 35, 52, 54
Akamai 35
Amarisoft 55, 62
Amazon 35, 76, 85
- Amazon Web Services 35, 85
Apple 10, 44, 76, 102
- Apple Music 44
- iPhone 10
Arqiva 78
Artesian Solutions 80, 102
Athonet 34, 35, 62, 101
AT&T 45, 71, 76
Autonomy 62

B

Bain Capital 8, 61
Bechtle Group 18, 19
- Stemmer 18, 19, 101
Bell Canada 55
Berenberg 9
Bharti Group
- Bharti Airtel 52, 55
BlackBerry 23
BMV Group 87
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) 13, 96
BT Group 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 26, 34, 36, 38, 49, 51, 54, 65, 82, 92, 97, 100, 101
- Asia
-- Tech Mahindra 52
- BT Consumer 10, 11, 22, 26, 65, 68, 74, 76, 93
-- BT Cloud 85
-- BT TV 74
- BT Enterprise
-- BT Business & Public Sector 23
-- BT Fleet 17, 22
-- BT Ireland 23, 79, 102
-- BT Local Business 80, 102
-- BT Media & Broadcast 81, 82, 102
-- BT Northern Ireland 23
-- BT Wholesale & Ventures 23
-- InLinkUK 78, 79, 102
- BT Global Services 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 22, 23, 26, 36, 84, 85, 86, 87, 103
-- BT Americas 23
-- BT Connect 85, 86, 87
-- BT Federal 23
-- BT Germany 18
-- BT Italia 8, 18, 19, 101
-- BT Radianz 87
-- BT Security 23, 88, 89, 103
- BT Retail 23
- BT Technology, Service and Operations 33, 101
-- 21CN 66
-- Adastral Park 42, 43, 88, 97
-- Azure 85
-- Brightstar 36
- BT Tower 59
- Directors
-- du Plessis, Jan 7, 11
-- Hoettges, Timotheus 17
-- McTighe, Mike 92
-- Rake, Sir Michael 7
- EE 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 22, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 49, 60, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 76, 82, 102
-- Emergency Services Network 13, 69, 102
- Enterprise
-- BT Cables 17
- Executives
-- Ainger, Chris 82
-- Ali, Farhan 23
-- Allera, Marc 12, 14, 65, 76
-- Artley, Jennifer 23
-- Azvine, Ben 88
-- Black, Jim 22
-- Black, Kev 22
-- Burger, Bas 18
-- Canham, Rachel 22
-- Chalmers, Sabine 22
-- Cheung, Kwok 23
-- Crane, Paul 60
-- Cuevas, Maria 35
-- Dick, Brendan 23
-- Dunn, Jon 23
-- Foster, Alexandra 23
-- Frangos, Jean-Marc 60
-- Gasson, Kim 83
-- Guest, Richard 22
-- Higham, Rachel 36
-- Jansen, Philip 16, 23
-- Jones, Gavin 82
-- Karonis, Fortis 65
-- Key, Matthew 10, 101
-- Lancaster, Sharon 22
-- Lowth, Simon 7, 13, 15
-- Marquis, Simone 22
-- McCall, Greg 65
-- McQuade, Gerry 12, 14, 23
-- McRae, Neil 42
-- Meyer, Mairead 23
-- Mitchell, Andrew 23
-- Patterson, Gavin 6, 7, 11
-- Risse, Nadja 23
-- Ross, Cathryn 20, 101
-- Salam, David 38
-- Selley, Clive 7, 15, 93, 100
-- Sinha, Priya 22
-- Sloman, Carla 23
-- Sutherland, Graham 23
-- Sutton, Neil 85, 87
-- Ward, Conor 22
-- Watson, Howard 7, 36, 51, 52, 56, 65
-- Wellen, Tony 23
-- Whale, Andy 95
-- Woodend, Roger 23
- Ex-executives
-- Fitz, Daniel 22
-- Hanif, Mansoor 60
-- Hughes, Mark 23
-- Timmons, Emer 36
-- Varley, Wray 23
- Openreach 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 26, 67, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 103

C

Cambridge University 88
Centrica 22
Channel 4 76
Ciena 54
Cisco Systems, Inc. 52, 54, 60, 61, 87
CityFibre 99, 103
CK Hutchison 36, 67
- Three Group
-- Three UK 36, 67, 102
Comcast 93
Conservative Party (UK) 100
Credit Suisse 19

D

Deloitte 52, 55
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS, UK)
- Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) 11, 13, 15
- Hancock, Matt 100
Deutsche Telekom 16, 51, 52, 55, 59, 60, 61, 62, 101
- Magyar Telekom Nyrt 54
- T-Mobile 38
Digital Britain 98, 100, 103

E

Eir 75, 102
Ericsson 38, 41
European Broadcasting Union (EBU / Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision / UER) 82
European Union
European Commission 24

F

Facebook 51, 53, 54, 55, 59, 60, 61
- OpenCellular 53
- Open Compute Project 60
Financial Times 16
Football Association
- Premier League 75, 81, 82, 102
Francis Crick Institute 22, 23

G

Gigaclear 99
Goldman Sachs 99
Google 85, 103
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, UK) 36
GTT 87
- Interoute 87

H

Hewlett Packard Enterprise 54
High Court 13, 14
Home Office (UK) 69, 70, 71, 72, 102
House of Commons
- Public Accounts Committee 70, 71, 72, 102
HP Inc 54
Huawei Technologies 35, 36, 64, 65, 100
Hyperoptic 99

I

IBM 85
Infinera 54
InfoVista 85
Institute of Economic Affairs 20
Intel 52, 54, 55
IPS Institute 72, 102

J

Juniper Networks 42, 47, 48

K

KETS Quantum 59, 62
Kingston Communications (KCOM) 23, 99

L

Liberty Global
- Virgin Media 7, 68, 78, 92, 93, 99, 102
- Virgin Media Business 78
Lime Microsystems 52, 54
Lloyds Banking Group 13, 22
Lumina Networks 35

M

M&G Prudential 99
Microsoft 34, 85
Ministry of Defence (MoD) 89
Motorola 69, 70, 71, 102
Motorola Solutions
- Airwave 69, 70, 71, 72, 102
- Kodiak 69, 71

N

National Audit Office 71, 102
Netflix 76
Nokia 52, 55, 83, 87
- Nuage Networks 87
NTT 52, 54

O

Ofcom 17, 20, 21, 22, 24, 60, 68, 72, 95, 97, 100, 101, 102, 103
- PPC 24
- Price controls 24
- USO 20
Oracle 85
Orange 17, 38, 54, 55, 59, 62

P

Pace Micro Technology 93
Parallel Wireless 35, 52, 55
PHAZR 35
Phluido 55
Pirelli 95
Procter & Gamble 7
Prysmian 94, 95, 103
Pure Telecom 79, 102

R

RAVN Systems 50
Retelit 19, 101
Riverbed Technology 85, 86, 87, 103
Royal KPN 17

S

Salesforce 80, 85
Samsung 10
Scottish Football Association
- Scottish Premier League 82
SecureCloud+ 89
SK Telecom 52, 55, 59, 62
Spirent 35
Subex 50

T

TalkTalk Telecom Group 68, 99
Tech Mahindra 52
Telecom Infra Project 35, 51, 59, 60, 61, 62, 101
- OpenCellular 53
- TEAC 52, 59, 61, 62
Telecom Italia SpA 52, 55
Telefónica 10, 36, 51, 54, 55, 78
- O2 UK 10
- Telefónica Europe 10
TeliaSonera AB 17
Telstra 55
Transport for London
- London Underground 71
Twitter 38

U

UEFA
- Champions League 82
United Nations 19
Unmanned Life 62

V

Vela 87
Verizon Communications 76
Visa 101
Vodafone 12, 21, 23, 51, 54, 55, 60, 61, 68, 72, 99
- UK 68, 72
VRtuoso 83, 102
VXFIBER 99

W

WeDo Technologies 49, 101
Wind River 34, 35, 101
World Communication Awards (WCA) 36

Y

YouView 76

Z

Zeetta Networks 62
ZTE 36

  • BT/EE charging forward with automation to improve network quality, and perception of quality.
  • Ericsson a critical partner in the focus on better experience for customers.
  • 5G will up the ante with a promised personalised network experience for all.

David Salam, Director of Core and Data Analytics for EE, and BT Group Executive Director for Mobile Networks, gave a presentation at Cambridge Wireless’s conference, The inevitable automation of next-generation networks, at the end of September 2018.

Over the course of his presentation and subsequent Q&A session, the BT executive highlighted the inadequacies of traditional metrics in providing a workable picture of network performance, and stressed the need for a more responsive, real‑time set of indicators to replace them. Network intelligence was at the core of Salam’s solution for existing challenges, and also fundamental to the development of 5G services that will go beyond the initial benefits of better speeds and greater capacity.

“It became apparent that you can’t run a network when…people reporting things on Twitter is a much quicker way to spot issues in the network than you can yourself.” Salam.

Salam joined BT with the acquisition of EE, and came to EE via the T‑Mobile and Orange merger in 2010 (BTwatch #237). Over this period, he has led the development of network architecture and strategy, focusing on core and data analytics over the past two years.

Automation improving service now, and a foundation for future

Building intelligence into the networks is part of the groundwork being undertaken ahead of the launch of commercial 5G services, scheduled to begin next year (BTwatch #296). The ultimate goal is to deliver “a personalised network experience” through understanding the network and its performance at an individual customer level once 5G is deployed. The plan will be to fine tune the network, in real-time, to best serve each customer. Salam did not underestimate the complexity of achieving this vision.

The prospect of greater intelligence in networks was said to have been a priority for some time, with backing at senior management level. This emphasis on intelligence is happening even though (or perhaps because) the scale and complexity of networks is increasing with more spectrum, carriers and technologies being layered on top of existing assets.

Salam said BT/EE is committed to providing an “always connected” service, but recognised that covering the entire geography of the UK is “impossible”. The goal, therefore, is to provide focused, targeted coverage that provides a perception of ubiquity.

Transformation team driving intelligence

To support a more granular understanding of its network and customers’ real-time experience, BT established a Digital Transformation Framework for Intelligent Mobile Operation, which Salam said aims to develop three key strands:

  • Developing network analytics to create actionable insights on customer satisfaction, and generate an idea of Net Promoter Score per customer.
  • Using machine learning (ML) algorithms and dynamic visualisation to cut fault detection and repair times.
  • Embracing an intelligence-based operating model. This entails leveraging IT‑driven service management and using new customer insights across all operating teams to speed up and prioritise the resolution of individual and group issues.

Three transformation goals backing four use cases, ultimately enabling 5G

For 5G, the creation of a software‑defined and virtualised platform will make automation essential.

BT has already said it will initially use 5G to improve capacity, speed and coverage of broadband (BTwatch #296), with more dynamic services and network slicing applications not expected to come into the equation until 2022-23. Salam appeared confident that this demand will materialise, though, and asserted that networks would need to be ready to cope with such demands. Full convergence across network technologies, network slicing, and the complete personalisation of service delivery will need to be built on highly automated systems.

“Ultimately, for 5G and IoT, autonomous control will be essential to underpin, design and run operations…because the level of complexity you will get to will not be understandable by operations now – assistive intelligence is needed. ” Salam.

Big data analysis demands standardisation

Salam said that BT was able to use many of the capabilities it has already to help it amass and use big data, but stressed the need for clear replicable ways of working.

“[We need to build] things to standards and [develop] intelligence as part of the infrastructure to make it simpler and make it work in a common way because we can’t have ten or 15 different methods of collecting data. ” — Salam.

Salam envisages the sharing of data insights across BT and EE to support functions such as marketing and customer retention, and informing the ways in which the operator communicates with its customers. The prospect of sharing the data insights beyond the confines of the Group was raised by the audience and Salam noted that while this would be possible, a business case would need to be established, and the telco would need to ensure customer content was secured.

Technology change needs cultural change

Achieving the transformation goals of the operator is said to be underpinned by a change in corporate culture, which was summed up by Salam as being based on putting “quality first”, being “customer‑centric”, “data‑led” and “personal”.

“We need people stepping up, and taking personal responsibility,” he said, adding that the data now available means that proactive responses to individual problems are increasingly possible.

Ericsson already ensconced in intelligence drive

Salam featured in the recent announcement of EE’s selection of customer experience analytics solutions from Ericsson as part of its network monitoring improvement programme (BTwatch, #296). The work with Ericsson appears to be at the heart of the transformation he is overseeing at the operator.

In heralding the contract, Salam highlighted the detailed real‑time insights provided by Ericsson Analytics, which were said to be contributing to improved network quality. In subsequent interviews, Salam has also acknowledged Ericsson’s support in enabling front‑line staff to proactively address customer network problems and take ownership of individual fault resolution. EE’s ability to take a reading of an individual users’ NPS at any given time also appears based on Ericsson’s Service Level Index solution.

For full coverage of Salam’s presentation, including analysis of BT’s primary use cases as its network infrastructure evolves towards 5G, see the November release of BTwatch.

Image: Markus Spiske / Unsplash

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